To promote and produce live productions that engage, inspire, and convert the soul back to Christ and His Church.
St. Genesius of Rome was a 3rd century Roman actor, playwright and director. Famous for his plays, legend holds he was invited by then-emperor Diocletian for a special performance honoring the Roman Empire. Genesius was at the time a pagan with a strong distaste for the Christian "sect." He chose a show that mocked Christian baptism for his pagan emperor. In the middle of the show, Genesius stopped everything he was doing. He suddenly came to the realization that everything he had been mocking was, in fact, true. He converted on the spot, and despite Diocletian's commands to recant, he refused. He was martyred shortly thereafter.
Genesius' conversion story is a testament to the power of theater and live performance. Unlike many other forms of art, theater presents live human beings as the chief producers of the experience. Theater can not only impact an audience, but the actors and producers of the show as well, forcing them to consider the power of a single grace-filled moment shared mutually on the stage.
Before considering the seminary, young Karol Wojtyła (later, Pope John Paul II) thought he might one day become a literature professor, a writer, or an actor. He was a skilled actor in his teenage years, and his studies in Philology at the Jagiellonian University only continued to fan the flames of theatrical interest. He met a man named Mieczysław Kotlarzcyk, an experienced Catholic actor, playwright, and director, who quickly became his friend. The two of them gathered together a group of young actors and formed the Rhapsodic Theater, a theater of resistance and renewal, in the Polish city of Krakow.
The Rhapsodic Theater took on a new mission when Poland fell under Nazi rule. Clandestine performances were held in basements and interior rooms of safe houses. The goal of the theater was two-fold: to hold on to Polish culture in the midst of enemy occupation, and to renew the soul through performances that directly addressed the deepest human questions.
Though Karol only stayed with the group for a few years, the theater never fully left him. He continued writing plays and attending the performances of his old theater company, which persisted under Communist rule, despite many setbacks.
The Rhapsodic Theater held a philosophy that word, not action, was the most important component of live theatrical performance. Plays sought to unveil the soul, rather than simply the feelings or thoughts, of the characters before the eyes of the audience.
We too strive to continue in the tradition of Karol Wojtyła, Mieczysław Kotlarzcyk, and the other Rhapsodists, bringing Christ to others through the theater arts.
What We've Achieved
- Two live performances of Pope St. John Paul II's work, The Jeweler's Shop (2015-16)
- Staged readings of new plays from Catholic writers (2015-16)
- First Production: The First Moments of Man touring in the local Dallas area (2017)
What we hope to achieve
- A fully functioning company of young actors, performing throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area for two seasons a year (Spring and Fall).