A Man for All Seasons

Now playing at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway.

I have only vague memories of the film adaptation of A Man for All Seasons, which I saw as a child (my parents have weird ideas about what constitutes a kid-friendly movie), but I remembered enough to know that the play is about the persecution of Thomas More. Being uneasy about both religion and martyrdom, I didn’t expect to relate much when I bought a ticket to this new production, but I figured it would be interesting nonetheless, a curiosity of both the Reformation and the idealistic 1960s.

So I was surprised—quite surprised, actually—when the play did resonate for me. Underneath all the historical trappings, it proved relevant and meaningful. Turns out it’s less about religious principles than about legal principles, and More, far from being off-puttingly eager to make a statement with his own death, is, in fact, a reluctant martyr, trying to find an honorable way out of his predicament right to the end. And with Frank Langella playing More, that end is a memorable one indeed.