Jane Clark Scharl’s one-act play Sonnez les Matines has just been published by Wiseblood Books. It is with some trepidation that I venture to say anything about drama. I don’t know that I’ve ever studied drama properly. What I mean is that I’ve always studied it as literature. Judging by the paucity of drama I’ve engaged with in the eleven years of post-secondary literary education I’ve received, there would seem to be something like a consensus that drama isn’t exactly literature.
The great voluntary silences in literature baffle me. Some really did just give this art up. For Gerard Manley Hopkins, burning his poems put away childish things so he could focus on the priesthood. Philip Larkin felt the Muse had moved on and didn’t write for the last ten years of his life.
What really engages Rowan Williams in the three short plays included in Shakeshafte & Other Plays is the costly dynamic of artistic expression— a cost paid dearly by the artists represented in those three plays: by Shakespeare (in the first of the plays, Shakeshafte), by David Jones (in the second, The Flat Roof of the World), and by Jesus (in the third, Lazarus).