There is a surprising passage in recently published book Slow Church that ties together improvisation, Tina Fey, N. T. Wright, the Rev. Sam Wells and the Church, which is just marvelous.
Readers of the Blog at Sinden.org know that we are somewhat preoccupied with the notion of improvisation from a musical perspective, yet we concede that actors also improvise.
Musicians and actors alike can surely relate to the Slow Church authors' statement about improvisation "one can never tell the turns it will take or where it will end up".
Also useful for musicians are Tina Fey's rules for improvisation in her memoir Bossypants, paraphrased by the authors.
The authors then couple this to N. T. Wright's history of creation as a drama in five acts (from his Scripture and the Authority of God).
The five acts are
"The implications," write the authors of Slow Church, "are profound, if for no other reason that it undermines our cultural impulse to be consumers and spectators rather than faithful participants in the unwritten fifth act of God's play."
Then follows a characteristically obtuse quotation from Wright about continuity with previous acts, but also that "such continuity also implies discontinuity, a moment where genuinely new things can and do happen."
I have to say that I am particularly drawn to this idea of implied discontinuity. And I think this may be the kernel of what makes good art. If something is totally expected it isn't art, it's muzak.
Rant Especially for Organists: Just think of the endless heap of vapid hymn preludes with which organists and -- sadly -- congregations are familiar. You know the type. They're published by Augsburg Fortress or someone like that. They don't say anything. They don't innovate. Full of parallel sixths. Most organists could improvise something more interesting. They're just background noise for the liturgy. Background noise with a comfortable, recognizable tune. Is this art? Is this the best we can do? Is this really worthy of our worship? Okay, rant over.
After this, we must concede the usefulness of seeing improvisation from a theatrical perspective. The authors quote Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics by the Rev. Sam Wells.
Improvisation in the theatre is a practice through which actors develop trust in themselves and one another in order that they may conduct unscripted dramas without fear.
The Church as "a community of trust"; "learning to improvise the scriptural plotline".
We are the actors – and musicians, for music always has a role in good drama – creating the Fifth Act: The Church.
No wonder that
Apple ad line from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society resonates with us.
". . . that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse."
"What will your verse be?"
Labels: improvisation, N. T. Wright, Sam Wells, Slow Church, Tina Fey
The page you're reading is part of Sinden.org
©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet
Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?
Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption
Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida
The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.
Questions? Problems? email the sexton.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Zachary Wadsworth | composer
Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the purple (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.
Post a Comment