According to the lunar calendar, autumn doesn’t begin until Monday but as far as I’m concerned it started last night. I saw my first Broadway play of the New York theater season. A Man for All Seasons with Frank Langella playing Sir Thomas More. I saw Langella play Richard Nixon last season in Frost/Nixon and he is a great actor. (Watch for the Ron Howard-directed Frost/Nixon out in November.)
A Man for All Seasons is a dark, thick piece of theater that requires your full attention. The elderly patron seated to my left fell asleep, and I completely understand that. It helps to have a fetish for British historical dramas, which I do in spades, but I’m not entirely convinced that everyone would enjoy it as much as I did. I thought it was fantastic.
It’s hard to believe that executions, betrayal, false imprisonment and a potential war could result simply from the want of a divorce, but it all really happened. Get this: In 1527 Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry his mistress Anne Boleyn. The only thing standing in his way was the Catholic Church. The Church wouldn’t sanction the divorce, so he got rid of it! A righteous dude! In 1532, he severed ties with Rome and passed the Act of Supremacy, which installed himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. What nerve! He finally married Anne Boleyn. Catherine of Aragon’s nephew, Charles V, King of Spain, didn’t like seeing his aunt removed as Queen and tried to instigate a war.
More, the influential Lord Chancellor of England, refused to sign the Act or endorse the divorce on moral grounds. Well, you can guess where that got him. A year in a dungeon and a beheading. All that occurred simply because the King wanted a divorce! Isn’t that nuts?
What do you think has caused more trouble and misery throughout history, religious doctrine or what a man keeps in his pants? I’d say it’s a toss-up.