Ardalion was a comic actor. Romans loved comedy, especially the satiric kind, and Ardalion was famous for his buffoonish character. He did all the ridiculous things Christians do: prayed to an invisible god that was or was not an executed carpenter, ate bread and called it human flesh, thought wine was blood, wanted to kill children as a sacrificial feast, and eventually he renounced his faith and sacrificed (incense) to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Predictable, but predictably hilarious.
|Aldo Fabrizi, whom I'd cast as Ardalion|
Finding himself hauled from the stage and taken to the local praetor, Ardalion explained what happened. He was duly broiled on a red hot grid-iron.
Religion and drama have had a rocky relationship. Western drama -- Greek tragedies and comedies -- were first created for religious festivals. Many of the stories they told reinforced the notion that one must revere and submit to the gods. The medieval Christian Church used passion plays to relate the Bible stories to an illiterate population. But in Britain, religious fundamentalists (Calvinists) outlawed drama; it was just one more institution to corrupt morals and distract people from God. Hollywood takes a beating today from religious conservatives, and yet films of all faiths (okay, many faiths) continue to find huge audiences.
|His Holines greets Mr. Gere|
Still, even His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives his disciple Richard Gere a ration from time to time about acting, which he considers falsehood. This is from BuddhistChannel.tv "When he first met Gere in the early 1980s, he asked the star whether he actually felt the emotions he portrayed on screen. Gere replied that this made them appear more credible. His holiness burst out laughing."