Theater: Having A Hell of a Time

When Satan takes the stage, audiences wind up with angelic smiles

His company may not be much esteemed in heaven, but, from Eve onward, mere mortals have found Satan a singularly seductive fellow -- spookily charming, mordantly funny, even sexy in a sulphur-scented way. Writers have been especially beguiled, from Marlowe and Milton to Shaw and Stephen Vincent Benet. Indeed, while putting God on display as a character is normally a guarantee of literary disaster, it sometimes seems that stories about his arch-opposite just can't miss. Presumably there is a sound theological basis for all this: virtue could hardly be considered virtuous if it were also indisputably fun, while a patently offensive...

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