Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Keith Loria on Marcus Kyd as the Old Adversary

The Devil In His Own Words
Photo by Scott Suchman

Theater critic Keith Loria calls our attention to an upcoming performance about the Prince of Darkness, "Marcus Kyd, chasing the Devil for Taffety Punk's revival" (DC Theatre Scene, September 8, 2014):
Marcus Kyd had lots of questions about what was being taught to him [as a child growing up in a Catholic home], especially about the Devil . . . . "The Devil was always confusing to me. My big question was, 'Why would a creature like this exist?' It's scary when you are a kid . . . . It was never sufficiently answered for me . . . . In 2001, I was reading Milton's Paradise Lost, as I had exhausted all Shakespeare and was still hungry for classical literature, and the portrayal of Satan in that story was fascinating to me . . . . I had never seen such a thought-provoking, sympathetic portrayal and what Milton did really got me excited as he took the point of view of the character, the way a playwright would, and provided a motivation. He became much more than just this black-and-white mythological creature and started to seem human."
That Miltonic experience led to wide reading:
After that, Kyd was hungry for more. His search for other works turned up an almost unlimited amount of literature about the Devil, as it seemed almost every famous writer had tackled the supernatural entity in some way.
He then did something similar to what I did in my novella:
"I started pulling my favorites out and I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I knew there had to be a show in this," he says. "I started fitting bits and pieces together to see if I could fit it into a narrative."

The result is The Devil in His Own Words, a fast-paced tragicomedy that digs deep into the identity of humanity's oldest villain.
There's more to read at the site, and also a brief video of the show's opening lines. If any of my readers are in Washington, DC between September 12 and October 4 and happen to see the performance, then let us know your response.



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