Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Actor

I cannot recommend highly enough Daniel McInerny's new play entitled The Actor. The drama explores the youthful acting career of Karol Wojtyla, known as "Lolek" to his friends, and known to history as St. John Paul II. Faced by Nazi oppression, Lolek and his companions begin an underground theater in which to perform Polish plays, in an effort to keep their country's culture alive. One sees the love of words, art, and spectacle that would come to characterize the apocalyptic worldwide ministry of the future pontiff. The play also shows how the arts can be a path for achieving a dynamic sanctity. It is through his growth as an actor that Lolek comes to self-knowledge and eventually finds his overwhelming call to the priesthood.

Written with humor, insight and wit, the dialog demonstrates the dilemma of young, devout Catholics who love their country as well as literature but who are kept down by a hostile, anti-Catholic power. In spite of, and perhaps even because of, the persecution of their people, they continue to work to bring beauty, faith and meaning to their lives. They arrive at insights and inspirations which they might never have had otherwise. God can raise up saints and artists in the darkest of times. As for the character of Lolek, a glimpse is given into the soul of the enthusiastic young man who would not let Nazis or Communists stand in his way. While I could see the drama unfold clearly in my mind while reading it, I hope to see it performed on stage someday soon; it deserves to become apart of the repertory of many a theater group. Share

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