Un pas de deux, un pas de dieu
‘Un Pas de Deux, Un Pas de Dieu’ is a play depicting a meeting of Thomas Merton, twentieth-century Catholic monk and author, and Anne Bradstreet, one of the first published Puritan poets in New England. The play is set at Gethsemani, the Abbey in Kentucky, where Merton lived for half his life. The time is six months after his death, the day of the publication of his novel, ‘My Argument with the Gestapo’. Merton’s abiding interest in the publication of this work, a profound statement against war, is a continuing theme throughout the play. Anne Bradstreet recites a portion of her poem “Contemplations” intruding on Merton’s solitude, much to his dismay. She is lost and seeking her home and is frightened by this “popish” monastery she has encountered. Thus the dialogue begins and progresses from concern with outer appearances (Merton had no use for Puritans and Bradstreet had a fear of Catholics), which are so different, to their inner lives, which are very similar. There is a realization that they are possibly in Purgatory and an exchange of thoughts on Salvation and God, church, the role of women, of family, of war and, of course, of writing. The play ends with a scene in which the two share bread, wine, and Trappist cheese. The poetry of each writer is used at times in the play. Bradstreet and Merton were witty, erudite individuals and the dialogue throughout shows their humor.