Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

The Testament of Mary

Posted by nliakos on February 28, 2013

by Colm Tóibín (Scribner, 2013)

When I read this review by Ron Charles in the Washington Post back in November, I was intrigued enough to put this on my To Read list. Then last week, I happened on it in a library display of new books. It’s very short, only 81 pages, and I just discovered it was originally written as a a play (or monologue). I think it would have been better to watch/listen to it than to just read it, but it was an interesting read, nonetheless.

Jesus’ mother, living out her final years in Ephesus, is the narrator. She recounts the raising of Lazarus and Jesus’ rescue of his disciples by walking on water. She is disgusted by her own cowardice in fleeing the scene of the crucifixion before Jesus died. She considers Jesus’ disciples pitiful (a “group of misfits”) and the redemption of the world not worth his gruesome death.

I wonder what Christians who read this think about it. Tóibín certainly takes liberties with the saintly image of the Virgin Mary. I found an interesting interview of Tóibín by Sally Quinn of the Post, in which he claims to love the Catholic Church very much; he seems to have had no intent to denigrate Mary, yet I suspect that the book might offend many believers.


Posted in Drama, Fiction | 1 Comment »

The Laramie Project

Posted by nliakos on January 30, 2012

by Moisés Kaufman

I don’t usually read plays; I prefer to see them performed on stage or even on TV. Maybe that is why I never read this when it was the University of Maryland First Year Book back in 2002-2003, and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. I took it down after the public library snatched the book I was reading off my Nook when I couldn’t finish it in 14 days (Excuse me? The book had over 400 pages! I have a job! How could I possibly have finished it?).

The tragic story of the murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shephard is the centerpiece of this Teutonic Theater Project play, so I assumed I would be reading about the callousness and prejudice of the people of Laramie, whose interviews make up the play. I’ve been through Laramie, driving west to California on Route 80.  It is so alien for me–like a different country, maybe a different planet. But I was wrong. Most of the people who “speak” in the play were as appalled by the crime as I was. Several of them are also gay. Who thought there were so many gay students, professors, and citizens in Laramie WY? (I guess it’s like Jews: we are everywhere.) So I ended up feeling somewhat comforted by the idea that the two young men who beat Matt Shephard to the point of death and then left him to die, and who are paying for their crime in prison, were as much of an aberration in Laramie as they would be in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

I recommend it to English learners because it is quite short and the language is quite accessible.

Posted in Drama, Recommended for ESL or EFL Learners | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »