Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 2, 2009
Lolek tells the story of JP II's keen faith
Minnesota actor's portrayal of young Wojtyla goes onstage in Edmonton area
Jeremy Stanbary as Lolek
BY GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON – As a young theatre student in Minnesota, Jeremy Stanbary had drifted far from his Catholic upbringing.
But when his mother sent him a copy of Pope John Paul’s play The Jeweller’s Shop, written when the future pope was a young man, it grabbed Stanbary’s interest.
He became intrigued with the young Karol Wojtyla and began to learn about the future pope’s life before he became a priest.
“The more I learned about his earlier life, the more I was inspired by it,” he said. It’s a remarkable life, one rooted in a deep faith.
RIFE WITH TRAGEDY
“Tragedy continued to strike his life at an early age,” Stanbary said in an interview. “By the time he hit his early 20s, all his immediate family was dead.”
“Sometimes tragedy makes people lose their faith. But for him, it strengthened him.
“How he was able to hold onto his faith is a real model for the rest of us.”
By the time Stanbary graduated, he had recovered his faith and was looking for a way to bring together his dramatic talents with his knowledge of John Paul II’s young adulthood.
Out of that arose his one-man drama, Lolek, which he will perform at five locations in the Edmonton area from Feb. 2 to 8.
“I wrote this to get a handle on what formed him into the great man he is.”
“The great thing about this play is that it has universal appeal,” he said.
Non-Catholic Christians and non-Christians can often be found in the audience at Lolek, which he has now performed more than 60 times in 15 states over the last five years.
Lolek has also gone on stage at the last two World Youth Days. This will be the first time it has been presented in Canada.
Stanbary, 30, says the play shows the power of prayer. “Our job is to pray and discern and try to remain faithful, knowing that God will remain faithful to his plan.”
The play shows Karol Wojtyla struggling to learn God’s plan for his life.
But God has a plan for everyone.
“God certainly has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives. We are all called to holiness.”
Staying after each production and talking with people in the audience has convinced Stanbary of his play’s power to inspire people.
“It’s amazing to see how God’s grace is able to work through the dramatic arts.”
Stanbary and his Epiphany Studio Productions are now developing a pro-life drama that relates true stories of the post-abortion experiences of men and women.
He also presents Alessandro, a powerful story of conversion and forgiveness about the man who murdered St. Maria Goretti.
But Lolek was his first play and it remains close to his heart. “It never gets old,” he said.
“There’s more that I continue to learn and continue to be inspired by in this drama.”
For more information about the Alberta presentations, call Jordan at 780-633-1366.