“The Jeweler’s Shop” by Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope St. John Paul II, was performed by Franciscan University students in the Gentile Gallery on Oct. 23 and was met by hearty applause.
Some were moved to tears while the character Anna, played by freshman Emily Flood, was on stage.
Student Joe Palmer said, “They did exceptionally well; the play was very philosophical and realistically showed the struggles of the characters.”
The play delved into the meaning of love, showing that love runs deeper than feeling and involves sacrifice. It focused on three different couples and how they dealt with the changes in their relationships, representing both positive and negative situations.
The performance fell one day after the feast day of its writer, St. John Paul II.
While the audience expressed their enthusiasm, two of the play’s actors Patricia Voigt and Joshua Cash shared their own thoughts on how they did.
“You can’t completely do this justice,” said Cash. “It was written by a saint.”
Voigt described the opportunity to perform in the play as a privilege and an honor.
“It’s our way of evangelization,” said Voigt. “We’re able to spread such deep messages through our performance. It’s the same with all art forms.”
Despite the initial nervousness of those involved, student-director, Hellen Kelly, had confidence in her cast.
“I know that my cast will do the best they can, because they put their heart and soul into this,” she said.
Kelly explained that she adapted the play from theater of the word, expressed through dramatic reading. Her challenge was to convert the characters’ speeches into a form the audience would find interesting, incorporating movement and direction, she said.
Kelly said that she hoped that the audience would come out of the play with “something to chew on” and would be inspired to revisit the play and contemplate the mysteries of love and marriage.
“It’s such a deep play,” Kelly said. “You learn something new every time you come back to it.”
Kelly expressed the desire to thank everyone who supported her.
“I could not have gotten through this without my cast, all the other drama majors, and everyone who’s been supporting me in this,” she said.
The cast of “The Jeweler’s Shop” started work on the play in the beginning of September.