St John Paul II’s play to delight Tasmanian audiences

By Catherine Sheehan

A play written by St John Paul II in 1960 is set to be performed for audiences in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport, as an initiative of the Hobart Archdiocese’s Life, Marriage and Family Office.

The Jeweler’s Shop, written by then Bishop Karol Wojtyła of Krakow in Poland, later known to the world as Pope John Paul II, explores the complicated yet profound area of romantic relationships and marriage.

Written in three acts, the play follows the relationships of three couples whose lives are intertwined and connected by their interactions with a mysterious jeweller who supplies them with their wedding rings. The play delves into the joys, hopes, expectations and disappointments of married love.

Director of the Life, Marriage and Family Office, Ben Smith, said official permission to perform the play had been obtained from the Vatican and he was eager to bring the play to Tasmania as a preparation for the upcoming World Meeting of Families in June this year.

“It’s called The Jeweler’s Shop but the sub-heading is A Meditation of the Sacrament of Matrimony Passing on Occasions Into Drama. So it’s very much connected to the sacrament of marriage. The wedding rings are quite an important symbol in the play and that connects with the relationships that are going on, the three key relationships.”

Auditions for the seven roles in the play will be held on 28 February and 7 March in Hobart, and at this stage the first performance is scheduled for Saturday 14 May.

Mr Smith said previous acting experience was not essential.

“It’s not a dialogue play, it’s a reading. So it’s not necessarily a normal play. They’re not going to need to memorise lots and lots of lines but we expect them to be able to act a part. Reading the word will be the key emphasis.”

The Jeweler’s Shop is written in the style of the Rhapsodic Theatre, which the young Karol Wojtyła co-founded as a form of cultural resistance during the Nazi and Communist occupations of Poland. Members of the Theatre met in secret in people’s homes where they would read the plays aloud by candlelight with no sets or props.

The play reflects St John Paul II’s emphasis on the importance of marriage and sexuality also found in his Theology of the Body and his other works such as Love and Responsibility.

“He was a deep thinker, very skilled in terms of acting and he cared a lot about marriage,” Mr Smith said.

“The Jeweler’s Shop shows how much he cared about his topic and how he saw it in terms of his pastoral guidance of young couples before and after marriage. He’s really been able to capture this in the play and it’s there for us to learn from.”

The cast of The Jeweler’s Shop:

Teresa: female in early 20’s, Andrew: Male in mid-20’s Anna: Female in early 40’s, Stefan: Male in his 50’s, Monica: Female in early 20’s, Christopher: Male in early 20’s and Adam: Priest in mid 40s

Key Dates:

Auditions (5:30 -7:00): Monday, February 28 & March 7 at the Catholic Diocesan Centre, 35 Tower Road, New Town.

Rehearsals (5:30 -7:00) (Monday nights): March 14, 21 & 28, April 4, 11 & 25 & May 2

Full Rehearsals (5:30 -7:30): May 9 & May 11

Hobart performances: Saturday May 14, Launceston/Devonport Performances: May 20/21

Registering your interest in Auditioning:

To register your interest in auditioning and to obtain an audition script for particular parts or for more information please contact Ben Smith on 0410 691 371.

Tags: Bellerive-Lindisfarne, Bridgewater-Brighton, Burnie-Wynyard, Campbell Town, Central Tasmania, Circular Head, Claremont, Flinders Island, Front Page News, George Town, Glenorchy, Hobart, Huon Valley, King Island, Kings Meadows, Kingston-Channel, Launceston, Life Family Marriage, Meander Valley, Mersey-Leven, Moonah-Lutana, News, Northern Deanery, Richmond, Sandy Bay, Scottsdale, South Hobart, Southern Deanery, St Mary's Cathedral, St Marys, West Coast, West Tamar