Downton Abbey: Playing our part well

September 24th, 2019

The most popular of all NPT’s Masterpiece Theater productions, Downton Abbey, is now continuing as a feature-length film.

The setting of the PBS show is explicitly England before, during and following the First World War — a time when change was being born but without a ready bassinet to accept it. The drama is majestically and magnificently British.

Everything about the drama drools with opulence. Beautifully maintained grounds, lavish furnishings, elegant dinners — all create the setting for a dysfunctional patrician family facing a changing world.

As an introduction to the sixth and final season of the show, a royal-like red-carpet affair brought together the cast, writers, producers and directors. As normal for such affairs, this notable gathering involved interviews with all the participating persons. During the hour-long documentary, the director was asked about the stars of the Downton Abbey sequel. He quickly replied, there is no single star. Every role is different. Mrs. Patmore is always in her kitchen apron while volatile and flamboyant Mary is lavishly attired. Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes dominate the house staff while the tradition-bound dowager mother is the storage vault for all the family secrets. Some have more stage time than others. Some are more involved in dramatic scenes than others. Every person has a role to play; and when they play it well, they’re “stars.”

Every person has a role to play; and when they play it well, they’re “stars.”

I am not going to scour through the Bible and cherry-pick a few words or a phrase or two from Proverbs or some of Paul’s admonitions to bolster my thoughts. I am not even going to Google for a quote from either Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain.

We are not all alike. Some of us have never won life’s lottery. Compared to the lives of the Grantham/Crawley family of Downton Abbey, most of us swim in small ponds. But there is something satisfying and fulfilling about playing our part well.

This post was also published at Christian Living in the Mature Years.

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