Magdalene.org Interview with Gloria Amendola
by Lesa Whyte © 2002
After reading Gloria Amendola's play, Magdalene's Mind, earlier this month, I was giddy with excitement. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It wasn't too sentimental, it wasn't too preachy, it didn't try to explain too many things. The result is a balanced, well-written drama that occurs in a world with which we can identify. Taking Magdalene out of 1st century Palestine is probably the best thing an author can do; while historical works are often compelling, nothing has grabbed this urban heart like Amendola's modern day miracle play.
I asked Gloria a few questions in email so Magdalene.org readers would know a bit more about Magdalene's Mind.
Q: I guess the obvious place to start is by asking what inspired you to write "Magdalene’s Mind," and how you became interested in Mary Magdalene. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
A: I felt it was time to write another play. I was interested in writing about a woman from the Bible; I knew nothing of who they really were, or could have been. And Mary Magdalene jumped out at me. With a passion.
Once I began to research her history, it’s as if she was leading me to more and more information. And it became an amazing revelation.
Q: The drama is well-crafted, which makes me believe this isn’t your first play. Do you have any other works that Magdalene.org readers can look for? Is any of your work available from a publisher?
A: This is my third play. My first play – "There Comes A Time" - was produced at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut.
An excerpt from my second play – "Inside Voices" – was produced in New York City along with other new works. After that, my writing went in a different direction and I co-created two publications in the fields of music and fine arts. I wrote and published several interviews, developed stories, and edited others. I also wrote a volume of poetry.
"Magdalene’s Mind" is a return to my roots – theatre. It is here where I wish to create a produced, published body of work. And it begins with Magdalene.
Q: One of the themes that runs through the play is the childhood relationship between women and their fathers, how it affects their relationships with other men, and how it affects the way they relate to the rest of the world. Would you care to elaborate on this theme a little bit?
A: Those relationships you identify ARE woven into the characters of Sophia and Lydia. And it seemed as if Magdalene understood that relationship in each of them. And in herself, too.
All major childhood relationships seem to define the parameters of our personality.
Q: The shift from the Piscean Age to the Age of Aquarius seems to be influential toward the end of the play. Based on what the last 2000 years have shown us, how do you envision that this shift will take place?
A: Consciousness has been shifting for years. Miracles are occurring every day. I envision the shift being a grassroots movement of people reclaiming their spiritual nature. Keep an eye on the Performing Arts.
Q: Although Jesus makes only a brief appearance in the play, you’ve managed to write him as a very rounded character. What mental image did you have of Jesus as you wrote him into the play? What image did you have of the relationship between him and Magdalene?
A: The more I read and researched Magdalene, the more her feelings for Jesus became apparent. And then there were the many suggestions of their more intimate relationship – an idea I had never been exposed to in my Roman Catholic education. I wasn’t sure how to handle this information but decided it was probably an incredible relationship, and it deserved to be explored without judgment.
So I stayed focused on Magdalene and her feelings emerged. And as they did, the character of Jesus became a clear, compelling image. Jesus was an end result based on the feelings and words of Magdalene as I interpreted them through my research.
Q: The most enigmatic character in the play is The Unicorn. Can you tell me about what he represents, and why he was always looking out for Magdalene?
A: He represents masculine sexuality and its need to protect the feminine. But he struggles to understand her soul’s depth; he’s a creature mired in the masculine physical body. Yet he looks out for her because that’s what he’s supposed to do.
Q: My last question: why was it so crucial for Magdalene to be able to forgive, and why did you choose the type of person George represented? Granted, I, for one, could probably try to find more forgiveness in MY heart for people like him, but Magdalene’s salvation seems to depend on it. Is it the last thing that stands between her and eternity? If so, why?
A: I’m glad you perceived Magdalene’s ability to truly forgive as crucial.
The audience or reader walks with Magdalene here. But they must feel both sides of the human condition. George represents the man who competes for success at all costs. He is willing to be a soldier, to take responsibility for his mistakes. But his obsession with maintaining power and control betrays all of us sooner or later.
Yet we must forgive the "George" in our own life. To discover our selves.
Magdalene is released from the perceptions of her history, and free to re-unite with her beloved. In a way we can only imagine. We are offered a revised image of who Mary Magdalene may have been and we can re-visit her memory in our own lives.
You can email Gloria Amendola at GGXA22@aol.com