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Episode 52—Off-Broadway play accurately portrays conservative thought: zoology or spiritual wisdom?

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Oct 21, 2019 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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In the new off-Broadway play Heroes of the Fourth Turning, playwright Will Arbery (son of two Wyoming Catholic College professors) offers a nuanced, accurate portrayal of the way conservatives talk to each other when progressives aren’t around. The characters are instantly recognizable to anyone who has spent time among well-educated Catholic conservatives. The play has attracted positive attention from both secular and Catholic media.

Is Heroes a zoological exhibit for progressives to gape at, or something deeper? Is it ultimately more unsettling to a perceptive Catholic viewer, for whom Arbery’s troubled characters might function as an indictment of a Catholic conservatism that can be focused more on ideas and temporal concerns than on the reality of Christ?

And if so, does the play itself recognize the nature of the problem? That is, does it deal substantively with its characters’ Catholicism, or, like some of those characters, does it merely use certain Catholic ideas in the service of temporal political debates? Having seen Heroes of the Fourth Turning, Thomas Mirus and James Majewski discuss.

Links

Heroes of the Fourth Turning https://www.playwrightshorizons.org/shows/plays/heroes-fourth-turning/

C. C. Pecknold’s review: https://catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2019/10/01/an-extraordinary-play-that-challenges-progressives-and-conservatives-alike/

Rod Dreher’s commentary: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher-tags/heroes-of-the-fourth-turning/

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus.

Thomas V. Mirus is a pianist living in New York City. He is the director of audio media for CatholicCulture.org and hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

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