Saint Thomas Becket and Three Plays

Wednesday, May 25, AD 2011


Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen.

TS Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

The investiture scene from the movie Becket (1964).  The story of the great Archbishop of Canterbury Saint Thomas Becket, who, from being the worldly Chancellor of King Henry II, became the great champion of the Church in life, and a greater champion in death, has always attracted artists and writers.  In our time Jean Anouilh wrote the play Becket, brilliantly brought to the screen in the 1964 film.  Filled with historical howlers, Becket was Norman not Saxon for example, it brilliantly captures the clash between Henry and the man who had been his friend and loyal servant, but who served a Greater Master after Henry, over his protest, had him raised to be Archbishop of Canterbury.

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3 Responses to Saint Thomas Becket and Three Plays

  • Last Fall I saw a tremendous off-broadway performance of ‘Murder in the Cathedral” by the Brooklyn Arts HQ and performed in an actual cathedral (well, a majestic parish church anyway — St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn, NY). Excellent production of this great play enhanced by the staging in a church.

  • Much to my regret Kurt I have never seen a live performance of Murder in the Cathedral. My dream would be a dual revival of Anouilh’s Becket and Murder in the Cathedral with the plays being show on alternating nights.