Play about papal resignation to be staged in New York

Tom Attea's Benedictus, in which fictional pontiff has visions of new calling, will run off-Broadway in May and June

Playwright Tom Attea has just got very, very lucky. Two years ago, he wrote a play about a pope standing down from office. Now, in the wake of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, Attea's work will be produced in New York.

Entitled Benedictus, the play focuses on the fictional Pope Benedictus, who has a series of visions prodding him towards a new calling and requests to give up the papacy. Deciding him to be mad, senior cardinals force Benedictus to resign, leaving him to decide whether his visions were real or not.

Benedictus, which will run off-Broadway between 30 May and 16 June, is being produced by Theatre for the New City, whose website describes it as "a drama of wit with serious intent".

The play is Attea's ninth – seven of the others have been musicals – and will be directed by his regular collaborator Mark Marcante, with incidental music by Arthur Abrams.

When he officially resigned as pope on 28 February, Benedict XVI became the first pontiff to step down in 600 years.


Matt Trueman

The GuardianTramp

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