No more giants
Can’t we just pursue our lives
With out children and our wives?
‘Till that happy day arrives,
How do you ignore
All the witches,
All the curses,
All the wolves, all the lies,
The false hopes, the goodbyes,
All the wondering what even worse is
Still in store?
All the children…
All the giants…
Last Friday I had the opportunity to watch Bishop Verot High School’s Theater department pull off the famous musical Into the Woods. I took my daughters with me and a few other HS students. We loved it.
The lyrics above pull from a haunting lament by the Baker, in the woods, in the second act – right when the characters and stories suffer most from broken conditions and broken choices all over the place.
Put those lyrics in conversation with this provocative bit from Andy Crouch’s tremendous book “Culture Making:”
This is how deeply culture is embedded in the human character; it is the first response to sin, the first place where the inward alienation from God finds its outward expression … [T]his, then is one of the arcs of the story of Genesis 1-11, from the fig leaves to the tower. Culture attempts to deal with the consequences of sin. But this is a vain attempt, in all the senses of the word vain: prideful, self-regarding, and futile. What human beings make of the world only deepens their alienation and independence from their maker. This is the germ of truth in all condemnations of culture. For all its moments of beauty and ingenuity, culture can easily be Babel: a fist-shaking attempt to take over God’s role for ourselves. (p. 117).
This strikes me as an apt summary of Into the Woods, beautiful and ingenious as it is. I applaud BVHS for taking on this difficult work of art. I hope they (as a Catholic school) and the students in the cast took some time to wrestle with the deeper drama here.
[And in a strange bit of providence, Radiohead's "No Surprises" came streaming over Pandora as I wrote this. One more expression of futility.]