Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


‘Play of Herod’ bowing out after this season’s performances

Published December 5, 2013

CONYERS—“The Play of Herod,” a 39-year tradition, is staging its grand finale performance at 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.

The production, performed by Atlanta Camerata Theater, is among the earliest dramatic works in the Christian era. The manuscript for the play was compiled around 1200.

The drama is a unique telling of the Christmas story, with the shepherds and the Magi traveling to see the miraculous baby with the reaction at Herod’s court to news that a potential threat to Herod’s power has been born. This production combines two 12th-century manuscripts from the Benedictine monastery of St. Benoit-sur-Loire near Fleury. “The Play of Herod” is a liturgical music-drama, thought to be the earliest form of medieval drama.

The play is sung in Latin, with English translations projected above the action. A consort of violas, recorders, hurdy-gurdy, and percussion accompanies the singers. The performance is directed by Kelly Morris, with music direction by Kevin Culver.

For both cast and audience, the monastery’s Medieval Gothic church has been the perfect setting for this classical musical drama. The church and monastery is home to a Cistercian monastic tradition that dates to the Middle Ages.

After the concert, the audience is invited to join the cast and monks for the cookies and carols reception. Visitors are encouraged to visit the monastery gift store for unique Christmas gifts. The store will be open all afternoon and will remain open after the concert for last minute Christmas shopping.

Admission for “The Play of Herod” is $20 for adults and $15 for children 16 and under. Seating is limited. The production is not suitable for infants and youngsters unable to sit quietly for an hour.

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