Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Reviews are In

Reviews of Patricia Gruben’s play about H.P. Blavatsky that had its debut in Vancouver are in. The character of Richard Hodgson is changed into that of a young Canadian physicist who tries “to untangle the mysteries behind the paranormal phenomena attributed to Helena Blavatsky from a scientific perspective.” One reviewer finds this helps put the story into a larger context:

Making Hodgson a scientist was an interesting choice, because while the story is centred on Blavatsky and Hodgson, it’s really about the 19th Century as a whole: an age struggling towards reason, trying to build an understanding of the universe based on science instead of faith. Darwin killed God, so they said, or at least made Him unnecessary, but many people were still hungry for miracles and revelation. Add to that a more connected world enabling increased contact with other cultures, and it made for a strange and potent mix. Blavatsky’s Theosophy borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism and various mystery religions, but also the language of science, and tried to connect all of them into a sort of Grand Unified Spiritual Theory.

I expected [Gruben’s play] The Secret Doctrine to just be a critique of a fraud and/or the weird pseudo-scientific philosophies she [Blavatsky] preached, but it gave me a lot of food for thought. I love when that happens!

Another review is given here.

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