Karol Wojtyla was a gifted young actor, playwright and poet with a deep faith and a love of the theatre. When the Nazis invaded Poland during WW2 they closed down all the theatres and attempted to obliterate the culture.  Karol and a few friends formed an underground resistance, staging plays and Polish epics in secret locations. Eventually, he would study for the priesthood and became one of the Church’s best-loved Popes. However, he continued to write plays. Through a series of three workshops, we will look at the plays and poems produced by this great man.

Target: S4-S6

Type: Drama/Literature/History/Ethics

Development: Imagination/Literary Analysis/Performance

Space required: Classroom and audio-visual facilities

Cost: £100 per class group for 3 x period workshops

  • Workshop I: Love & Responsibility – The Jewellery’s Shop & Radiation of Fatherhood

We’ll look at extracts from two of Wojtyla’s most accomplished plays, dealing with concepts of love, marriage and parenthood, in the context of his theory of “the law of the gift” and of “person and act”.

  • Workshop 2: Freedom and Suffering – Job and Our God’s Brother

We’ll read through a section of Wojtyla’s war-time play, based upon the Biblical story of Job, the just man who faces extreme suffering and loss. We will reflect upon how this play (written when he was just 19 years old) informs his thinking on suffering, especially in the encyclical Salvifici Doloris.  We’ll conclude by looking at the play “Our God’s Brother” which tells the story of an artist who feels called to help the poor, touching upon the “unique social service” of the arts with reference to Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Artists.

  • Workshop 3: Humanity and Dignity – The Quarry and Profiles of a Cyrenean

We’ll consider Wojtyla’s early work in a stone quarry, during his student years, reflecting upon the epic poem, “The Quarry”, which tells of the accidental death of a fellow worker. We’ll touch upon the dignity of workers in a Christian context, with reference to the encyclical Rerum Novarum produced by Pope Leo XIII. Finally, we will conclude the series by looking at some short poems “Profiles of a Cyrenean” that provide a snapshot of humanity.

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