The Drama

By Katherine Tingley

The real drama was taught and presented in a magnificent way centuries before the birth of Christ. If one looks into ancient history, especially into that of Greece, one finds much that is both interesting and inspiring in connection with the religious aspect of the drama. There was a time when the Greeks, as many as thirty thousand of them, would meet in the morning and carry out their devotion to the superb religious dramas of their master-poets until sundown.

Thinking of this fact, one can realize how much we have lost through the intervening years. It is only occasionally that one hears anything about the classical Greek dramas today. Of course scholars are familiar with them to a degree, but the average person, even among those who think, knows little about antiquity. It is a great pity that the bread-and-butter question should be of such absorbing concern that much of the beauty, grandeur, inspiration, and splendid spiritual support to be derived from the ancient dramas is lost. To the ancients the drama was not merely a means of relaxation and amusement: it was a part of their religious life. And it is well known what lovers of the good, the true, and the beautiful the Greeks were. Those familiar with their literature know what great ideas and sentiments they have left to us.

I consider the drama one of the most essential factors in education -- especially of youth. Let them become familiar with the splendid dramas and philosophies of antiquity, instead of allowing them to fill their minds with the trash that we meet nowadays in the efforts of many theatrical producers which, far from raising the minds of youth to a higher contemplation of life, to some conception of the truth and of the magnificent aspects and possibilities of man, drag them down, or at best merely entertain, please the fancy, and amuse.

There is a sanctification that comes from studying and working over one of these ancient dramas. After each performance of The Eumenides here in our Greek Theater it takes me several days to come back to the everyday way of living. There is an inner joy that no language can express. Such drama affords man one of the grandest opportunities to understand himself. Practically every line in The Eumenides, for instance, contains a profound truth of the ancient Mysteries. The more one reads, the more one desires to know about it; the more he studies, the more enlightened he becomes. Here he sees clearly that man, being dual in nature, possesses on the one hand the attributes of the spiritual soul and the possibilities of great perfection while, on the other hand, he has much in his nature that, unless he conquers it, will destroy him.

We must move into the feeling of the sacred drama -- the trend of men's minds in their aspirations, in their devotion, in their love of the true and the beautiful. Even those who make the greatest mistakes and who are most indifferent to the real drama of life are religious in the deepest side of their nature. They are a part of the great human family, divine in origin. Nothing is lost; none can be overlooked.

We should look upon human life as a great drama -- a great mystery-drama filled with limitless possibilities. The kingdom of heaven is within and so is the kingdom of hell, which is the kingdom of ignorance, of dissatisfaction, of delusion, and of unhappiness. If we wish to help to purify the world, to purify our nation, our city, and to breathe the sweet air of a new life, we must first allow ourselves to dream of the possibility of it. We must dare to go towards it and become the masters and understanders of our own lives first of all. Then we shall have the key to understanding the real drama of life.

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