Sandra Costen Kunz, a Ph.D. candidate in Christian education at PTS, began outlining
Job: A Mystery Play in 1992. It made it to Princeton Seminary’s auditorium stage in spring 2001. Robert Lancaster, a visiting lecturer in speech at PTS who worked for twenty-five years as a professional actor and director, including eleven years at McCarter Theater in Princeton where he directed the new works program, helped Kunz with the script and directed the play. PTS students brought it to life as actors, musicians, and production staff.
Using the form of the medieval mystery play,
Job wrestles skillfully and subtly with the many profound questions—such as, Why do bad things happen to good people?—raised by the Book of Job. It quotes extensively from Scripture and also further develops the story—for example, fleshing out the character of Job’s wife.
Kunz has long considered drama a fruitful medium for exploring Scripture, which she has been involved with since she and her husband dramatized biblical stories in the ’70s for children in an ecumenical summer program. She wishes churches used their sanctuaries and stages for theater more often.
“When people act out a biblical story, they notice aspects of the narrative that they might miss otherwise,” she says. “Perhaps this is the reason Ignatius Loyola recommended a type of meditation on Scripture where one sets the stage for the narrative in one’s imagination—envisioning each character, action, emotion, et cetera. In many ways,
Job was written out of this sort of Ignatian meditation on Scripture.”
Robert Lancaster thinks her play accomplished its mission: “Kunz’s stage adaptation of the mystery of Job shows us both the earthly onstage drama of human experience and the cosmic offstage drama of good and evil.”
Kunz plans to continue addressing these kinds of theological issues—as both a teacher (she currently teaches special education students part time in a nearby school) and a writer. Though she promises not to write any more scripts until she finishes her dissertation!