Pope John Paul II with George Gordon, producer of The Jewelers Shop
Pope John Paul II: spiritual leader, peacemaker, playwright?
By Jerry Tallmer
There was once a poet, striving actor, aspiring playwright named Karol Jozef Wojtyla, and one of his plays that has survived he wrote only a half-dozen all told is The Jewelers Shop, which dates not from his early years with the underground Rhapsodic Theater in Nazi-occupied Poland, but circa 1960, when Karol Wojtyla was the newly appointed Bishop of Krakow. Eighteen years later he would become Pope John Paul II.
The Jewelers Shop is a play about well, about love. In the voice of the poet (spoken by Adam, the old jeweler and Wilderean stage manager), love between man and woman is like the mustard seed, which when planted in the soil is the smallest of all earths seeds, yet when it is sown, springs up to become the largest of shrubs, with branches big enough for the birds of the sky to build nests in its shade.
That goes, the drama makes clear, also of love for the One who is the son of God.
Its three short acts cover (1) a courtship and marriage in the making, (2) a marriage and love thats gone wrong, (3) renewal of love in the next generation. The opening passage a young man and woman sneaking looks at one anothers faces as reflected in the jewelry shop window is altogether charming. From there on out, the language (in English translation) gets rather more abstract and flowery than this reader might wish. But it hews to its point: love conquers all.
Widely seen around the United States these past 10 years there was also a 1987 movie starring Burt Lancaster The Jewelers Shop has now landed for one rare Greenwich Village performance words and music 2 p.m. Sunday, September 16, at the University Parish of St. Josephs, 371 Sixth Avenue. Tickets are $10.
Producer George Gordon and his cast of seven stand ready to bring the show to any other parish in this town, splitting the proceeds. You can reach him at (845) 661-6953 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE JEWELERS SHOP. By Karol Jozef Wojtyla (John Paul II). English version by Boleslaw Taborski, adapted by Ted Davis. Songs by Paul Cassenova, arranged by Mary Ann Busch. Sunday, September 16, 2 p.m., at the University Parish of St. Josephs, 371 Sixth Avenue, (212) 741-1274. Admission $10.