Friday, March 6, 2009
All the World's a Stage
Recently, I reported the conclusion of the saga that unfolded from the 2005 discovery of a Virgin Mary image under a highway in Chicago. The image drew jeers and cheers for years, until it was spray-painted with devil horns and then covered over by city officials. The image is now gone, but the story will live on, not only in a forum such as this, but on stage as well.
Playwright Tanya Saracho has penned Our Lady of the Underpass and it runs at Teatro Vista until the end of March. I haven’t seen or read the play, but this review from the Chicago Reader makes it sound like Saracho’s approach to the topic is very similar to Madonna of the Toast’s, in that they both leave the image in question up to the viewer: “It’s Saracho’s genius to keep questions of reality unresolved, to leave open the gap between an indisputable fact—a salt stain on a cement wall—and what human beings make of it: art, faith.”
Sounds like the Madonna of the Toast mantra: What do you see?
Apparently the play is a series of monologues that covers the range of attitudes about the image, from devout to derisory, which are separated by “clever choral recitations that bring to mind different types of prayer.”
This is not the first play inspired by these stories. Who remembers this post about The Jesus Hickey? While I can’t vouch for the quality of either play it does not surprise me that writers, visual artists, film directors and actors delve into these stories. If approached correctly, they can yield so much about human nature, and that’s the real power of these visual manifestations.
If anyone out there reading is in Chicago and happens to see the play, let me know what you think.