John Paul the Great High School The Jeweler’s ShopBy Cappies • Dec 7th, 2010 • Category: Cappies
While is has been said that “Love is just love, it can never be explained,” John Paul the Great High School wholeheartedly proved this statement wrong in its deep and thoughtful portrayal of The Jeweler’s Shop.
Originally written by Karol Wojtyla, who later became Pope John Paul II, The Jeweler’s Shop is a commentary on love and the often flawed human relationships that occur in marriages. Written during the Nazi’s occupation of Poland, the play provides several difficulties in the fact that it is primarily written for the language – any previous form of culture such as acting was not permitted by the Nazis. Actors, therefore, often sat in chairs and read plays aloud as if lecturing to disguise what they were truly doing. The play tells the stories of three different couples – Teresa and Andrew who, although very much in love, have doubts whether they are truly meant for each other; Anna and Stefan, who are watching their marriage quite literally fall apart; and the two couples’ children, the engaged Monica and Christopher who in their parents’ marriages have witnessed the true pitfalls of love.
As the all knowing presence in the story who ties the two main couples together, Adam (John Carias) offers his simple and yet often philosophical views of love throughout the show. Carias’ thoughtful energy as well as steadfast interpretation behind his often difficult and thoughtful lines gave him a memorable stage presence throughout the entire show.
As the naïve couple who are doubting whether they are truly “soul mates,” Teresa (Amanda Kempton) and Andrew (Larson Gore) successfully presented the doubts and fears that many people in love, no matter what their age, experience. Kempton’s understanding of the young engaged girl whose heart is split in two directions – that of love and doubt, gave her the air of a woman much older than herself. Her maturity on stage dramatically influenced that of her character. Her relationship with Gore (Andrew) blosomed throughout the entire play, despite Andrew’s death.
In true contrast with Teresa and Andrew whose love survives death, Anna and Stefan’s love dies several years into their marriage. As Anna, Katie Miller’s high energy level and true depiction of a woman desperate for love yet not receiving it complimented Stefan’s (Matt Spinosa) true apathy toward the marriage. Miller and Spinosa together showed what can truly destroy a marriage – one person’s need for love and the other’s inability to give it.
Tying everything together, Shea Corpora (Monica) and Danny Turner’s (Christopher) portrayal of a couple plagued by a past that does not belong to them, but to their parents. They offered a unique interpretation of how love affects everyone involved. Corpora’s and Turner’s clear acting choices and childishly naïve chemistry with one another gives hope for the love of a new generation.
While The Jeweler’s Shop purposefully leaves many philosophical questions concerning love unanswered, Pope John Paul the Great High School’s performance left us with one thing- hope for love itself.
by Brittany Simmons of Westfield High School
Photos by Jen Cole.
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