Stage Play - What would Catholics want to see produced?

Hello all.

I’m beginning to write plays and want to do a religious play. I’m non-Catholic. But, I love Catholic spirituality and would like to write a play about a saint’s spirituality/experiences. Also, I would like to present a positive side of Catholicism in general, that is, a faithful priest/confessor/spiritual director and their interaction with the saint.

You may wonder why a non-Catholic would want to do this and if they would be supportive instead of critical. As I said, I love Catholic spirituality because it is deep and full of meaning. Plus, since Catholicism is the largest representation of Christianity in the world, I believe a strong, positive Catholic message is needed today.

I welcome your thoughts, whether positive or negative, in regards to this endeavor. Any favorite saints or just good 'ole Catholic stories that you would like to see a play done about are welcome.

Peace…

MW

This is wonderful! I am also writing plays with Catholic themes in them. Currently, I am working on a little children’s Christmas play. I am also working on a play involving St. Katherine Drexel. I believe that the Church has a rich treasure trove of material to work with. St. Maria Goretti, St. Felicity, and St. Genesius are just the tip of the iceberg.

God Bless!

Well, you’re in good company - and respect is always a good thing.

I remember reading the play by George Bernard Shaw (great English playwright, and Protestant) about St Joan. While great, it is a bit on the irreverent side, particularly the last scene which refers to Joan’s canonisation. Especially when combined with the preface he wrote about her, where he calls her ‘the first Protestant canonised saint’ or some such rot, merely because she stood up to a corrupt political bishop and was martyred for it.

I was a little surprised that it was on the reading list at the Catholic high school I went to (not that I studied it myself), but that’s Catholic education for you. :shrug:

Relationships between saints and their confessors? St Francis de Sales and St Jane Frances de Chantal had a good relationship, as did St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac, and St Margaret Mary and her confessor, Ven Claude de la Colombiere, St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila … it’s interesting to see how sanctity in the one begets it in the other :thumbsup:

St Francis of Assisi technically wasn’t a confessor (not being a priest) but he WAS spiritual advisor to St Clare and many others.

St Padre Pio was a renowned confessor, as was St Jean Vianney.

Thank you very much for your reply. I was beginning to think nobody wanted me to do one :shrug: I’m an amateur at this point and writing 10 minute plays, but the themes for them aren’t that expandable.

But, I want to do at least a full-length play that is inspiring for Christians and that sends a good message to the world that has a decidedly Catholic nature.

Oh, I believe you are right. There are so many saints that it’s hard to choose from. And I didn’t want to do a Holy Family play or anything because I’m just too afraid of not doing it justice. I wanted to do something different and highlight a person or situation that people may not have heard of.

I heard on CA live some time back about a Catholic stage play theatre or gentlemen, but can’t for the life of me figure out who it was :o I’m excited that you are doing plays as well and maybe we can share critiques back and forth. I would like someone to read the script at some point and tell me if it flows, makes sense, etc.

Thanks for the ideas and God bless!

MW

There’s been too much bad press and the media never, ever portrays the Church in a positive light that I have seen. That needs to change, not only for the Catholic Church, but for Christianity in general.

I remember reading the play by George Bernard Shaw (great English playwright, and Protestant) about St Joan. While great, it is a bit on the irreverent side, particularly the last scene which refers to Joan’s canonisation. Especially when combined with the preface he wrote about her, where he calls her ‘the first Protestant canonised saint’ or some such rot, merely because she stood up to a corrupt political bishop and was martyred for it.

Shaw was a great writer, that’s for sure. He obviously just didn’t understand the situation good enough and portrayed his own bias.

I was a little surprised that it was on the reading list at the Catholic high school I went to (not that I studied it myself), but that’s Catholic education for you. :shrug:

LOL, I wouldn’t know. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be born Catholic or attend Catholic school.

Relationships between saints and their confessors? St Francis de Sales and St Jane Frances de Chantal had a good relationship, as did St Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac, and St Margaret Mary and her confessor, Ven Claude de la Colombiere, St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila … it’s interesting to see how sanctity in the one begets it in the other :thumbsup:

Thank you for the people you’ve mentioned. I really like St. Francis, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. The mystics are so interesting.

St Francis of Assisi technically wasn’t a confessor (not being a priest) but he WAS spiritual advisor to St Clare and many others.

St Padre Pio was a renowned confessor, as was St Jean Vianney.

More great names. Thank you. I’m going to take what you and Michael have given me, think about it and do some research on them. Do you know any good Catholic sources for their lives that I get hold of?

Thanks again and God bless.

MW

Have you seen the play Edith Stein?

My daughter’s Protestant Reformed college, Calvin College, did this play several years ago. The playwright came to see it, and said it was the best production he had seen.

I can’t find a review of the Calvin production online, but here is a link to a review about another production of the play:

raggedblade.com/reviews/000135.html

Read this play, or better, go see it. And then write more plays like it.

Another idea for a play that I would like to see someone write is the conversion of a Protestant, preferably an evangelical or fundamental Protestant, to Catholicism.

There is a lot of drama when this happens. A lot of family things happen, as families attempt to deal with the conversion of their loved one to what they see as an idolatrous Babylonian mystery cult.

Although it usually works out, sometimes it doesn’t, and the new Catholic loses friends and family, sometimes even a job.

OR you could take the “comic” approach, like Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Either way, there is a lot of material to work with in conversion stories.

Thanks Cat for your input. Great ideas! I’ll look up the play Edith Stein. I’ll see if I can find a copy of the script for reference. I like the idea of a conversion experience. Though I haven’t converted to Catholicism I know first-hand some of the problems that come up when someone starts on that path.

Keep ‘em comin’!

Thanks and God bless…

MW

Dear MW- I am a convert myself, as well as an avid theater nut/thespian too. It’s awesome that someone out there wants to produce Catholic-friendly works! I am tired of the “priest as pedophile” routine, even though that is an abomination that does need to be exposed and ELIMINATED!!! The play/movie “Doubt” addresses this area with SOME hints of neutrality I hear, but I haven’t seen it yet. Did you know that there is a theory (I’m not sure where I heard this, but I’m pretty sure there is a whole book about it by a woman author) that Shakespeare’s plays were hidden messages about the Catholic faith/themes? He couldn’t be overt due the persecutions of Catholics under Elizabeth I. Now that you reminded me of this topic, I need to google this and see if I can get the book. As for your request for topics, I think a more modern saint/blessed would be more likely for today’s audience to identify with. I like the story of Venerable Solanus Casey- he was considered too unintelligent to have full priestly powers, but yet touched so many lives in his reduced role. One of my favorite quotes from him- “God could have established his Church under supervision of angels that have no faults or weaknesses. But who can doubt that as it stands today and consisting of and under the supervision of poor sinners- successors to the ‘poor fishermen of Galilee’, the Church is a more outstanding miracle than any other way.” People today (maybe especially me!) need to believe that even THEY can become saints! Gianna Molla is also a role model for me and other working women today. She was a doctor, wife, and mother who gave her life to save that of her unborn infant. SO different from the abortion-minded culture that says “I will kill my child so I can do as I please” (this is a paraphrase of Mother Theresa’s famous saying that says “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”) God bless you in your endeavors and keep us posted!!! In Christ Jan

Thanks Jan for your post.

Yes, I’m tired of that stereotype also of pedophile priests. My idea was to present a mystic, saint or priest and show the good things they have done, the challenges they may have faced and show the inevitable triumph over evil.

I’m also wanting to write something that supports pro-life issues, including abortion, euthanasia, etc. particularly for high school/college students. I don’t see much of that being published and produced, so I definitely think there’s a need for it.

I was reading a story about a priest in Louisiana who was canonized recently in which some of his relics have become available. I read his story and it was inspiring. The opportunities are endless as there have been so many saints, priests and just good Catholic people that need to have their story told.

Thank you very much for your input. I’ll keep it all in mind. And yes, I’ll keep you posted on this. It may be a while, as I’m focusing on writing shorter plays right now. I want to write a full-length script for this kind of project and that could take a while. If you provide me with your email via PM I can send you a copy of the script to critique and see what you think.

I don’t want to write something that doesn’t come across very well, so I’ll need input from others on how it comes across.

God bless,

MW

Have you ever read the play “Tilly” by Frank Peretti? Here is a link:

crossway.org/product/663575121022

It’s a good pro-life play.

The book is title “The Quest for Shakespeare” and it is causing quite a stir in the secular theater world. They either vehemently oppose any idea that Shakespeare could have been Catholic or pretend to ignore this idea as some researchers folly. I was very excited about the idea that he could be Catholic. I can’t wait to buy the book.

I thing the potential for a play about Confession is rather good. One could potentially present it as a series of confessions (possibly using such famous confessors as St. John Vianney), using the priest as a constant character who plays a part in the growth of other characters, or perhaps changing and growing as a result of the confessions he hears. In either case, one would be able to develop multiple characters and interlocking stories, and it might potentially be done with no scenery but the confessional itself. :shrug:

I wanted to do the same thing with the person and the situation idea. I became interested in Katherine Drexel in part because she had been so instrumental in founding schools for the Native Americans and African Americans in the early part of the twentieth century. Her father was a very successful banker and worked closely with the likes of JP Morgan. After her father died, she received an inheritance that was worth about $20,000,000 by today’s standards. She could have lived in the lap of luxury for the remainder of her life, but chose the religious life and started her own order.

With that to work with, I did a little more digging and found out that a bishop in Tennessee came to her and asked to start a school for colored children in his diocese. She agreed and purchased a large mansion for the school. As soon as the word got out about what she was doing, the firestorm that followed was quite intense.

I’ve been working on this play for over two years and it still needs some tweaking. Once I fix some aspects of it, I really need someone to read it and do a thorough critique of it.

I’m not sure what they could have been talking about, but there is a Catholic theater company called Quo Vadis out of San Jose, CA. They have been around for a number of years. They have a website you can visit.

Oh, thanks. I haven’t read that. I’ve read his books and couldn’t put them down. Thanks a alot, Cat!!

Peace…

MW

Ah yes! I remember that now. Good! It needs to cause a stir - a good one.

Thanks Michael.

MW

Thanks for the input, Tim! I think so too, about confessions. My inital thoughts were to present a saint/mystic and their confessor and explore that whole situation. Yes, I agree wiht you. The confessional could be a cutout.

Thank you again, Tim. Great ideas!

MW

That’s interesting. I’m from Tennessee. LOL. When you are ready, I’d be glad to read it and tell you what I think. I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll give you my honest opinion.

Yes! I did a search and found that theater on the web. They say on the home page that they are looking for plays. Maybe you could submit yours and see what happens. If you want to send your script, just send me a PM and I’ll give you my email address. Also, alternatively, you could put it on Zhura.com and get others to review also. They discuss copyright issues there too and you’re covered if you post it there.

Peace…

MW

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