TWENTY-FIFTH CHALLENGE

CHALLENGE: Write an immersive modern Morality Tale

The third ancient form of theater that arrived after campfire stories and rain dances, were morality tales. Rather than speak from a place of camaraderie in communion with the audience as in campfire and rain dances, the church elevated themselves and spoke from a place of authority.

Traveling pageant performances were (kinda?) the first immersive theater!

With the decline of the Right in America from Pat Robertson cultural dominance to fringe, at least in Chicago- the theater has changed from a place where sinners can revel in excess and immorality or counter-morals. No longer is the stage a place to display the complex worst in humanity without a moralistic bow. Now, and for many, the stage is the place for extreme morality, challenging the old, bovine audiences with how vastly superior our world-view is over theirs. The “dangerous questions” are less “how will you handle knowing we are all sinners?” and more “how dare you label me with your bigoted microaggressions?”

Enraged? Look, I’m trying to provoke you. Is that irresponsible of me? Well, write a response play that puts me in my place. Or put someone else in their place. The point is, use your moral superiority to make a beacon for others to follow you into a more acceptable place.

Morality Tale Tips

  • Cover a truly difficult issue or… perhaps attack “your own” with something like veganism or vaccines

  • Use an Everyman that represents the audience. Heck, perhaps pull someone literally from the audience.

  • Consider a haunted house as a setting

  • Use Ideals as character names, like Justice, Truth, Hope… Crystal

  • Either the play moves around the audience like a parade, or the audience parades from room to room through the play.

  • Use elaborate and fantastical costumes

  • Use masks

  • Invoke horror

  • Play with scale- so that in one room we’re micro-organisms perhaps and another we’re the size of Godzilla