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  • Meet the Cowardly Lion

    Escaping from the summer heat into a cool theater can make for a great time. Seeing local church theater productions can even give you food for thought, as does interviewing the Cowardly Lion from “The Wizard of Oz,” performed by Greg LaNave at Church of the Nativity in Burke July 17-21.

    When I asked LaNave what he learned from the lion, he said characteristics are magnified in Oz.

    “Is it that Dorothy is seeing the real truth of those characters in Oz or is she just a young girl who sees very ordinary people in Kansas and has this magnified exaggerated view of their qualities? You could play it either way,” he said. “The relationship between the ordinariness of Kansas and the magical quality of Oz is interesting.”

    When LaNave, a parishioner of Nativity, isn’t performing in musicals, he teaches full-time at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington. His specialty is St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas.

     Find a summer theatre production

    “I became interested in the connection between holiness and theology, how sometimes in Christian tradition you have a spiritual leader and then someone comes along and articulates the theological vision,” he said. “The classic example is St. Francis and St. Bonaventure.”

    LaNave also is on the speaking circuit. Talking at parishes and giving parish missions grew out of his first theater shows at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Burke.

    “Three of the theater shows I’ve done were there and I offered my services to the rector if he needs a Catholic theologian,” he said. “I was invited to give talks on the theme of hope. When Father Bob Cilinski, pastor of Nativity, learned he invited me to give the parish mission in Lent. The pastor of Holy Family Church in Dale City invited me for the same. The theatrical and theological worlds are intersecting in that way.”

    If you go

    “Wizard of Oz,” Church of the Nativity, 6400 Nativity Lane, Burke, July 17-20 at 7:30 p.m., July 21 at 2 p.m., child and sensory friendly performance and sing-along, July 20 at 2 p.m., Nativityburke.org/nativity-players/  


    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021