Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Rosary

A very detailed description of The Rosary is at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13184b.htm

Eliza (Bridget) provided the following prayer of THE ROSARY:

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil:[For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever.] Amen.

Pater noster, qui es in caelis, Sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, Sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie. Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem: Sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

LatinAve Maria, gratia plena Dominus tecum; Benedicta tu in mulieribus, etbenedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pronobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.Amen.

Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be World without end. Amen.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum, Amen.

Weeping Mary & the song Bring Flowers of the Rarest

"February 28, 2004 - Reported in the Boston Herald.com. Written by Jules Crittenden."
Click link above to view article at that site.

You can listen to the song "Bring Flowers of the Rarest" at this website. Just click on the link and then once at the site, click on the song title (it's in the middle of the "INCLUDES" section). If you don't have RealOne Player, at that site you can click on To listen download the free RealOne Player in order to hear the recording.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rehearsal Notes from Thursday 12/21/2006

Not a lot of notes posting today. They worked on various scenes - the one where Tim reveals to Bridget his desire to have adopted her baby was especially poignant and caused some tears in the room. Interesting to see the collaborative style of direction that David employs sometimes - asking, listening and deciding how a scene should come across.

The topic of arcs was a big focus - the fact that when an arc slopes rapidly, it can lose the audience - better to allow a more gradual transition so the audience can be on the journey too and not feel as though they have to catch up.

A part that jumped out at me was Bridget saying how she doesn't deserve a miracle. It reminded me of a poem I found after learning about a broken statue - this may or may not capture Bridget's guilt over giving the baby up but it feels apropos somehow ....

by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

I stand nude before the world,
My faults and shortcomings
Exposed for all to see.
Like a tacky, tattered blanket,
A cloud of despair smothers me.
Layers of gray with streaks
Of blinding black press me
To the ground, a broken statue,
Tarnished by relentless rain
And worn by whimpering wind.
I cannot lift my head to watch
In case others turn from me,
Disdain displayed in their eyes.
Shame turns confidence into
Disgust for myself, burning
Like a fire without warmth,
Only a chill leaving no comfort.
How can anyone love me
When I remain disgraced in life
By being who and what I am?

It is Christmas break and the cast works on lines and reconvenes in the new year. I post a link here in honor of Mary who had to give her son over to death, so the world might be adopted ... click here for On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity by John Milton. Click here for more on the theological view of spiritual adoption in Catholic doctrine.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Diary of a Mother who gave her Baby up for Adoption

This from the end of a 5 page article at http://adoption.about.com/od/birthfirstmothers/a/diaryofmother.htm

Tomorrow I have another nursery visit. Another resident had her second one today. I've been fighting depression today. I put a picture of you next to my bed. Hopefully I can handle it. I got some more pictures developed. You look great. You're perfect. I thought about having another baby. But I'd feel too guilty about you. You'll always be "the one."

I cried last night with a house parent then almost cried three more times. I had another nursery visit today. My last one's tomorrow. You were irritable today and I couldn't make you happy. I felt helpless. Another girl decided to keep her baby after giving birth this morning. She has nothing but I can't judge her. I should have stressed to her the importance of not being alone with the baby. I made myself sore from crying and straining my incision. A birth mom who placed six years ago is supposed to call me and I'm going to the support group next week

I placed you today. It was the hardest thing I've ever done or will do, I think. Last night another resident and I cried together. Her placement was after mine on the same day. I'm spending the night at my best friend's to get away. I can't stop thinking about you. I wonder what you're doing right now.

Rehearsal Notes from Wednesday 12/20/2006

Tonight they ran act 1 and it had some very rich and humorous moments.
The blocking seemed to flow.
Bridget's scene with Tim present day interspersed with Evan memories is finding its way to seamless. It is one of my favorite scene sequences.

A few lines jumped out at me tonight... specifically the rather loaded line by Tim: "It's always nice to have something to look forward to."
Does this represent an off-the-cuff, making conversation line? Or does it point to Tim's cynicism? Or could it touch on the fact that he wishes, maybe, that he shared the faith of his sister? Faith being the substance of things hoped for, another way of saying looked forward to.
Hebrews chapter 11 opens with "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Another translation states "Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen."
Interesting the difference between the two. One says sure and certain while the other calls it a realization of a hope and evidence of things unseen. Are the characters in Sacred Hearts sure and certain or are they realizing their hopes?

Rehearsal Notes Tuesday 12/19/2006

1) Annulment - what is the Catholic church's definition and criteria for it?

Why is Gretchen unable to stay married? What is it about the marriage that's causing her to seek an annulment to leave Gus? Infidelity? Abandonment? Indifference?

2) What's Westfalia like?
The place where the playwright worked in Vermont came up. It's Tyler Place Resort: http://www.tylerplace.com/

The idea that Westfalia has a very small off-season population but as a summer community it would be more thriving in the warm months. Bridget's grandmother would have been a year-round resident.

3) Bridget - Tim - Gretchen
Gretchen kisses Tim. Why? She wants to break the story. Why? She wants to spread her wings and try to fly. What event or revelation has led her to grab the bull by the horns? Is this a recent change in her personality? Is this a bottled up aspect of her coming loose?
Why is it so easy for Bridget to be a person of faith and open to accepting the existence of God and Mary and the Saints and yet so hard for her to be open to accept Gretchen?
"People are desperate for miracles" GRETCHEN says.
People want to believe in something greater than themselves. But what?
Would it unearth the secret to perennial truths?
Is it to tap into a divine strength that enables one to accept a Gretchen in their life? To not be burdened? To be exonerrated?
"If I ask her and she says yes" GRETCHEN says about her having dinner with Bridget now that they've had their talk... how many times growing up has Gretchen asked to do something with someone and heard "no"? And how wonderful after a lifetime of no's from people not wanting to hang around with her would it be to hear "yes" from Bridget? How joyous a moment is this reconciliation she's had with Bridget? Is Bridget reconciled in return or is it just Gretchen being optimistic?

4) The Innocents parallel parable

David brought up a photographer and the series of photographs on people innocently jailed. It was to raise the question: how far do you go to believe a loved one or a dear and close friend who claims something when all logic and reason points to something else? People innocently jailed. What if it was your brother or sister who was accused of killing someone? Eye witness testimonies pointing to it. Fingerprints even, perhaps? If they swore to you they were innocent. How long could you believe? Would you believe?

5) Avoidance Tactics
Is Bridget not returning to the statue for fear she may encounter another miracle? Is she wrestling with the fact that her faith is coming alive or the fact that everyone is turning it into a freak show? If she stays away from the statue, does she think she will prevent a freak show from unfolding? Is she afraid that 1,000's of people will follow her around as it was documented that pilgrims followed Bernadette around after the events at Lourdes? Is she wanting to keep the miracle to herself for reasons of protecting the sanctity of it or for selfish reasons, not wanting to be burdened as a public figure responsible for providing an eye witness account of a divine occurance to increase the faith of others? Or is there a crisis of faith in herself? Has she accepted the miracle as a miracle or as a personal message just for her and for no one else?

6) "Approved" Apparitions

7) Madonna Queen National Shrine - East Boston, MA

http://www.catholicshrines.net/states/ma3.htm - photo of the shrine
Across from the Don Orione Home in East Boston stands a statue of the Madonna 35 feet high made of copper and bronze. It was erected in May of 1954, the Marian Year, and was greeted by thousands of worshippers. Its story dates back to World War II when the famous Jewish sculptor Arrigo Minerbi was welcomed to refuge in the Don Orione's Institution in Rome during the Nazi persecution against Jews. After the liberation, Minerbi created a statue of the Madonna as a gift to the Don Orione Fathers and personal thanksgiving for surviving the war. It was placed on the hill of Montemario overlooking the city of Rome. Soon after, a replica of the six-ton masterpiece was made and shipped to the Don Orione Fathers in East Boston in three pieces. It was reconstructed and dedicated as "The Madonna Queen of the Universe" by Archbishop Cushing. The shrine and serene statue greet visitors year-round. Mass is said Saturdays at 5:00 pm, Sundays at 11:00 am and 5:00 pm, and weekdays at 7:30 pm. The gift shop is open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Located at 150 Orient Avenue, take Route 1-A, turn at the cross on the hill and follow the signs. 617-569-2100

8) Greg's image of Mary winking at him

Greg emailed me this image of Mary.

Is it Tim's irreverent attitude towards the faith?
Or Greg's sense of humor or his perception of Mary?

9) some St. Bernadette sites here:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Publicity Photos from Wed. 12/13/2006

(L to R) Renee Miller, Ed Peed, Eliza Lay, Curt Klump, Gregory Maraio, & Melissa Baroni

(Clockwise from center) Eliza Lay, Renee Miller, Gregory Maraio, Ed Peed, Melissa Baroni & Curt Klump
(L to R) Renee Miller, Eliza Lay, & Ed Peed

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Song of Bernadette

The quote "To those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. To those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible" was part of the opening credits of the film The Song of Bernadette and has been paraphrased often in the intervening years. In forward to Sacred Hearts, Colleen wrote: "My cousin had a record based on the movie The Song of Bernadette. I traded her a Beatles 45 for it and whenever we wanted to put on a "serious show" we played the record and lip-synched the story with actions and friends we had forced to be our audience. I think we all secretly wished we could be Bernadette or the little children of Fatima and be the recipients of a miracle - a divine message. But we never thought of the consequences."

A Very Brief Intro to Catholic Doctrine

What distinguishes Catholicism from other Christian religions? The Catholic glossary at newadvent.org sums up the difference between the two biggies very succinctly: The Protestant goes directly to the scriptures for instruction, and to the throne of grace in devotions; whilst the pious Roman Catholic consults the teaching of his/her church, and prefers to offer his/her prayers through the medium of the Virgin Mary and the saints.

Which brings up another question... what is a saint? It has a very distinct meaning in Catholicism. Saints have to meet certain criteria and formally receive the title of Saint through the process of canonization. There is a decent summary of this at howstuffwork. Official Catholic documents that serve as the source can be found at the official website of The Vatican.

Fatima, Lourdes and other Links

Can someone be talked into believing in the power of the divine? An e-mail from David today came with this note and links below:

The company took some of the "curse" off the project with a now-famous opening title: "To those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. To those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible."

We talked about Lourdes and the time when I was young - 7 or 8 - we visited Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre shrine in Quebec and there were all these crutches, walkers, glasses & hearing aids all over the pillars. They told me it was from people who had come and been healed. We got some holy water there and kept it around for years afterwards.

Fatima http://www.ewtn.com/fatima/index.htm
Lourdes http://www.lourdes-france.com/index.php?texte=1&langage=en
The Song of Bernadette film http://home.hiwaay.net/~oliver/bernadette.html
List of apparitions http://www.apparitions.org/ Including one in Westphalia, Germany from 1812.
Another apparition web site http://www.theworkofgod.org/Aparitns/Aparitns.htm

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rehearsal Notes from Thursday 12/14

1) The sanctity of confession between a priest and the person giving confession. If it is under the sacrament of confession the priest is bound to secrecy, which comes up when Evan asks Bridget if she told Fr Phil about the statue while she was in confession or not - twice.

2) How a journalist is always a journalist no matter what the encounter - where the who, what, where, when, how, why - takes precedence over any relationship between the journalist & the 'subject.' This comes up in the last scene between Evan & Bridget. Colleen's father was a well known and respected journalist - Pat Curran - and her sister, Peggy Curran, is an award winning journalist.

3) Why has Evan left whatever position he was in at a major paper - Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax, etc - to BUY a weekly paper in Westfalia? Buying being the key verb here - he'd need to have some Canadian dollars available to do a purchase.

4) There's also the matter of trust & faith in people and religion which comes out very strongly in the encounters between Evan & Bridget, after they have their 'almost' intimate moment.

... note: found and posted a glossary entry on confessional rules. Preliminary research on reporter confidentiality yielded nothing substantial ... to follow up.

Little Audrey

I questioned the appropriateness of the Audrey image I found and posted to the right. I thought it shows the exploitative potential that is a key aspect to the play but I did not want to preume (without David's approval) to go there. So I asked and he affirmed it is totally appropriate. He explained, "That was part of my discussion with Colleen of taking it from 1989 to the present - it would have to accomodate these kind of 'media frenzy' cases, in addition to the 'face-of-Jesus-in-the-toast-on-E-Bay' kind of reporting. Also, the current day of cell phones, blackberrys, ipods, etc - would result in even more pilgrims to the shrine sooner, I believe. Colleen, appropriately, chose to keep it in 1989, otherwise it would be a VERY different play."

News on the alleged miracle of comatosed Audrey of Worcester which David mentioned this week in rehearsals:

And the website for the girl: http://www.littleaudreysanto.org/

PRICE LIST of available items:

MARY STATUE MOVES? "I went to touch her hands," Huerta said, "and I thought I felt a pulse."

Pilgrims find miracle in a statue
Believers say icon of Virgin Mary moves
Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle

CORPUS CHRISTI -- For 10 years, the flaking plaster statue of the Virgin Mary stood in its niche in Raquel Fernandez's front yard doing precisely what one might expect a statue to do. Absolutely nothing.

Then early on a Thursday evening about three weeks ago, Fernandez, 57, a recent widow, was aroused from a light slumber by a knock on her door. The visitor, a friend's niece who had come from Fort Worth for a funeral, was sputtering with excitement.

Crowds continue to visit the statue of the Virgin Mary at the home of Raquel Fernandez in Corpus Christi. Fernandez says the $12 statue opens its eyes and moves. Many people visiting the site say they have had religious experiences.

The statue, she insisted, was moving.

Continued at

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Law and Disorder

The photo of the nun crowning the statue led me to that website where I discovered a lawyer who may have faced what might be on Bridget's mind, renouncing 'success' - seemingly ILLOGICAL to Tim and the secular world: "On 8 November 1732, having said farewell to his parents and his friends, St Alphonsus, the famous lawyer and descendant of the Neapolitan nobility, left the grand city of Naples for the poor and humble village of Scala, clad in a threadbare cassock and seated on a lowly donkey. Yielding to the call of divine grace, he was leaving behind him fortune and honour, friends and relations, his companions and his spiritual children – leaving everything to give himself to God and the most abandoned souls."

About the Playwright

David provided GREAT links to info on Colleen...

... Colleen in the red sweater in the photo
... David directed the premiere of El Clavadista in Vermont in September, 1982

Kristin and Bridget

David cited a New York Times article on Kristin Chenoweth as an example of the kind of balance that Bridget may have to strike between the world and faith. The Times article is fee-based but another interview is at Beliefnet for free. And a blog reader kindly shared another site with the Times article! http://yourmedianews.com/theater-books-people/She-Sings-She-Acts-She-Prays/

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rehearsal Notes from Tuesday 12/12

"Epic Theatre in Intimate Spaces" ... the label is an irreverent tagline from Greg for Zeitgeist but it sort of reminded me of the breadth and depth of this story and its historical context. Epic in terms of all the social factors swirling around within it. Intimate in terms of the journey of personal discovery it aims to reveal.

What's up with 1989?

The publication date is 1989. It was commissioned in 1987. Rehearsals tonight covered a lot of character relationship territory for Eliza and Greg but it also unearthed a significant aspect of the historical context with regard to the story. Specifically, David highlighted and discussed with them how the birth of Bridget's baby and her decision to give it up for adoption, in light of Tim's desire to be a father, would affect their bond now.

Tim is gay. David said Colleen wrote the role with that in mind. Tim has come out to Bridget. Given the time of the play's setting, which Colleen successfully convinced David is worth leaving unchanged at 1989 and not updating to present day - despite (as David explained) all the fun with Jesus on eBay and whatnot that would have offered - the child would have been born in the early 1980's. That was not a friendly environment for single gay men to raise a child, even she were his own niece.

How would that factor into Bridget's decision? And into Tim's feelings towards her? Eliza and Greg began exploring a whole new layer of the character's attitude towards his sister's decision in light of this.

Where in the world is Westfalia?

A fictitious town, an initial search uncovered a myspace called westfaliasucks - it's actually a band labelled "boredom rock" in Edmunton Canada with a track that becomes audible after almost a minute and sounds like crickets. The band has a website of not much content at westfaliasucks.com ... the name choice is something Tim might have picked.

David concluded that Westfalia would be a few hours from the Ottawa area in Ontario Canada where Tim would work, making the siblings a weekend trip apart with not too terribly damaging phone bills. David emphasized how considering a job about 10,000 miles away in Australia (rhymes with Westfalia:) is a huge thing for Tim to drop on Bridget. Pivotal point that establishes the tactics Tim might use with his sister to make a point.

Next up: Thursday's rehearsal with Bridget and Evan!

Friday, December 8, 2006


This blog serves as the online dramaturgical resource for Zeitgeist Stage Company's rehearsal process for Sacred Hearts, written by Colleen Curran and directed by David J. Miller.

Please check back as rehearsals evolve for literary analysis, definitions of terms, images, links to sound files and any other aspect pertaining to the play that are intended to augment and inspire through the creative process.


Julie Levene
Freelance Dramaturg
Member - Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA)