Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Adventures of St. Paul

... from an article in an upcoming issue of The St. Austin Review


I have always been fascinated with St. Paul. And so toward the end of 2007 I began to write what I hoped would become a one-man show that I could tour the country performing, under the aegis of my business The Theater of the Word Incorporated. Before settling down to the hard task of creating such a show, I searched around for other one-man Paul scripts that might be out there, in the hopes that I could save some time and simply produce one that already existed. I read the sample first page of a one-man Paul script that a hopeful writer sent me, but could tell right away that his Paul was simply a nice guy who meant well but found himself unjustly persecuted. His Paul was to the real Paul as Marty Haugen’s liturgical music is to Gregorian chant. This is not the Paul I hoped to bring to our prospective audiences.

And so I realized I had to create my own script – though it ended up being a four-person show, not a one-man. I covered the gamut of Paul’s life and writings, with the tag line “The Journey of St. Paul – stoning, shipwrecks, miracles and more!” We then were blessed with Pope Benedict proclaiming this past year as The Year of St. Paul, and so we found ourselves literally travelling coast to coast, as eager parishes of all stripes – liberal, conservative, and in-between, booked us.

Looking back over this past Year of St. Paul, and reflecting on our experiences in bringing his life and writings to thousands of people across the country, a few things stand out about this most famous of literary converts.

First, Paul’s forthrightness astonished and encouraged people. “Am I trying to please men?” Paul says at one point. “If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” (see Gal 1:10) We showed Paul standing up to all adversity and boldly preaching the Gospel “in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2) I had more than one priest say to me after a performance, “If only our bishops could be like Paul!”

Also ...


... ah, but if you want to read more, you'll have to see an upcoming issue of the St. Austin Review - an excellent magazine published on both sides of the Atlantic, dedicated to the revival of Catholic culture.

In the meantime, follow our adventures and Kevin O'Brien's posts at The St. Austin Review Ink Desk

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Shows from Theater of the Word!

To celebrate The Year of the Priest, we present Faith of Our Father - The Story of a Priest.

This humorous and touching tale tells the story of Fr. Mike, a young priest recently appointed pastor at the suburban parish "St. Somewhere".

Thrust into the midst of parish politics, fundraising fiascoes, and the day to day challenge of caring for souls, Fr. Mike's faith begins to falter ... until a visit by his patron, St. John Vianney, shows him the true way of love and sacrifice.

A funny, profound, and heartwarming story dedicated to those who dedicate themselves to us - our priests.

Call 1-888-840-WORD or visit for more information or to arrange a booking.

We will also present Little Saint of the Poor.

Written and produced to commemorate the canonization of Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, this show presents the story of her life and her struggles. We journey with Jeanne as she gives up her own bed to a poor and dying woman, as she, by the grace of God, founds an order dedicated to serving the elderly and infirm; and as she is denied all honor and recognition of this remarkable feat by an unscrupulous man who forces Jeanne into a kind of exile in her own final years. This story is inspiring, as Jeanne's love for God shines through in her care for the aged and in the midst of her troubles. The play also delves into life issues that are currently in contention - euthanasia, dying, and dignity - and shows how these issues are fully transformed by the love of God and the love of the poorest among us.
Call 1-888-840-WORD or visit for more information or to arrange a booking.

Father Brown, Detective

Kevin O'Brien is really a dowdy absent-minded crime-solving priest from England. When he plays Father Brown, that is.

Father Brown was created by writer G. K. Chesterton in 1910. In his day, Father Brown and his mystery stories were as popular as Sherlock Holmes. The Father Brown mystery stories, brilliant works of detective fiction, are classics of the genre.

Both Chesterton and Father Brown are experiencing a healthy revival, a century after the crime-solving cleric's creation. O'Brien has been involved in this revival in some very exciting ways.

First, Kevin was interviewed by John J. Miller on "Between the Covers", National Review's podcast, an interview in which he talks about his dramatic rendition of The Innocence of Father Brown, an audio book collection of mysteries, published by Ignatius Press. Kevin also gives insights into Chesterton's writing and some of the things that make Father Brown so much fun to read. Click to listen.

Next, Kevin will talk about Father Brown on Doug Keck's Bookmark on EWTN June 7th and repeated various times throughout that week. Check for more information.

And finally, an episode of Kevin O'Brien's upcoming EWTN series The Theater of the Word Incorporated will be a made-for-TV film, "The Honor of Israel Gow", a mystery in which Father Brown solves a murder at a spooky Scottish castle. This episode will have its world premiere at the Chesterton Conference in Seattle, Washington on August 7. Kevin will give a presentation immediately preceding the screening on "Chesterton and Drama". For more information visit .