|Anna (Katy Burns) and Adam (Jonathon Colunga) in the Jeweler's Shop|
When Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope in 1978 the whole world became his stage. But he never strayed far from his roots in the Polish theater community. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, a group of actors, Wojtyla among them, met in basements and kitchens to rehearse long passages from great Polish literature. Thus was born the Rhapsodic Theater.
In his memoir, founder Kotlarczyk wrote "We held rehearsals in the dark kitchen of our catacomb, sometimes by candlelight when the power was turned off. Romantic rehearsals deepened our Polish consciousness, our resolution to survive and reach the shores of freedom, faithful to our ideal of theater." The Rhapsodic Theater presented 22 performances, and met for over 100 rehearsals or evening workshops in clandestine conditions
The Jeweler's shop was written in 1960 when he was Bishop of Krackow; it is subtitled: “A meditation on the sacrament of matrimony, passing on occasion into a drama.” It is a meditation born of his own human experience, conversations with friendship, and his priesthood. The drama, from his creative art. It reflects the ideals of the Rhapsodic Theater such as respect for the concrete human person, freedom, and community. These ideals permeate all of the writings of John Paul II.
That is why this play is being produced by the Pope John Paul II Forum; our mission is “to promote the understanding of the thought of Pope John Paul II.” The Forum will also sponsor a special event on Thursday evening next week, on the campus of the University of St. Thomas, an interpretation of the play by Professor Peter Casarella of De paul University. His talk is entitled “The Proper Weight of Love.”
The play runs for about 72 minutes; there will be no intermission. The restrooms are to my left, but be aware that actors and props are back there. Director Guy Schaafs has done a magnificent job in staging this play; and the cast has given their time, their dedication and their enthusiasm for the play. I see in the faces of the young cast a reflection of Karol Wojtyla, an actor who 60 years ago founded the Rhapsodic Theater. Actors are totally committed, "all in," dedicated to the craft, and love the beauty of the words and production.
Ladies and gentleman, I present to you -- The Jeweler's Shop