Milan Stitt Martin Gottfried - Essay

Martin Gottfried

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"The Runner Stumbles" is an unevenly written Catholic whodunit with an undercurrent of deep and heartfelt humanism. That undercurrent regularly gives life to the play …, but the work is too frequently undermined by awkward writing and construction…. Milan Stitt's drama is sincere in its anger with the official Catholic Church, as it seems devoted to the idea of Catholicism, but that ambivalence is reflected in the work itself….

The play is a courtroom trial and a flashback narrative. A priest has been accused of murdering a nun. She had come to his out-of-the-way parish to teach and, under contrived circumstances, moved into the rectory. The closeness of these living circumstances inevitably leads to romantic attraction.

An inevitable romance is merely a badly described one, but that is as much as one can draw from the story. Stitt has not delineated the nun at all—she is merely an enthusiastic and evidently successful teacher. The priest's character hasn't many details, though the author means for him to be a man more concerned with humanity than with ecclesiastic formality….

There are several … examples given to indicate his conflict with the official church but though they may all be realistic ones they seem … contrived and trivial….

The priest's main collision with the church, of course, is the romance with the nun. Either the author was reluctant to make this...

(The entire section is 477 words.)