Mystery Plays by Dawn King, Frazer Flintham, Katie Hims, Winsome Pinnock and Tom Wells

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Drama on 3 on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3, 23 December 2012
There is something particularly apposite about listening to Mystery Plays on Christmas Day (which is when I caught this excellent Radio 3 series, first broadcast in The Essay strand, and repeated in the Drama on 3 strand).  The experience made me realize that Christmas is not all about that day off before the sales start on Boxing Day, or that period when most people enjoy a two-week break, but rather a time to reflect on one's status as an individual in the world, and the extent to which the deity can or cannot help us.
At least, this was the overriding impression I had from listening to this excellent cycle of short dramas.  Dawn King's retelling of the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders transposed the action to a building-site in pre-Christmas London, and speculated on the wisdom of a boss (Ben Crowe) deciding to cut corners in the interests of profit, rather than concerning himself with customer satisfaction.  Katie Hims relocated the parable of the Good Samaritan on the London Underground, where Niall (Ben Crowe again) discovers something about himself and his relationship to those around him through an encounter with a stranger (Lizzy Watts).  Frazer Flintham showed how the Good Servant can operate in a department store context, where the new, ultra-efficient manager (Rosie Cavaliero) discovers that there is something more to life than profit and increased sales figures.  Winsome Pinnock's relocation of the story of Lazarus in a holistic healing centre prompted speculation on the extent to which a patient - in this case Larry (Robert Blythe) - can assume responsibility for his own healing.  And finally Tom Wells' retelling of the Sower parable let us reflect on the ways in which individuals learn to communicate with God: perhaps they need to discover their own means to ensure peace of mind.
Wells' drama provided the perfect coda to the week of beautiful little playlets, proving beyond doubt the ways in which medieval dramas can still have meaning in the contemporary world.  All credit to everyone involved: the cast list seemed to include the massed forces of the Radio Drama Company, under Jessica Dromgoole's able directorial baton.