The Surprise on Stage

Our own Kevin O’Brien’s new Theater of the Word will open its first season with five overtly Christian shows beginning on September 21st and 22nd at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Shrewsbury. The first is a play is GK Chesterton’s The Surprise. Written at the behest of his friend George Bernard Shaw, The Surprise is a kind of Romantic Fairy Tale — a story which answers the question “What do people want in life, and how can they get it?”

Recommended for teens on up. Tickets ($15) are available through MetroTix and directly from The Theater of the Word at 314-840-WORD. Showtime is 8 p.m. both nights. For your viewing pleasure, here is a promotional video for Theater of the Word.

St. Louis Chesterton Society member Tom Leith is playing the part of The King of Fontarabia, Scott Wilson is playing the part of The Captain of the Guard. All of the big parts (there are no unimportant parts!) are being played by professionals: Kevin O’Brien is playing the part of The Poet, and actors from his company are playing the other parts.

The following weekend, actors Chuck Chalberg and Kevin O’Brien will be joined by the president of the American Chesterton Society and host of EWTN’s program G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense, Dale Ahlquist, to present a show Chumming with Chesterton and Bumming with Belloc. Same place, time, and price.

These should be two terrific weekends, and we hope they’ll make a big splash for everyone involved. Do come out and support them, and tell your relatives and friends.

 This just in: a story in today’s St. Louis Review.


6 thoughts on “The Surprise on Stage

  1. The rehersals for “The Surprise” have started. It “surprises” me how hard acting really is and what all goes into making a show happen.
    Anyway, there are two things St. Louis Chesterton fans should be aware of:
    1) Discounted tickets were be available for sale at Monday evening’s meeting. $10.00 will get you a ticket to the BEST show in town, what a value!! You do have to stick around for the meeting, at least for a little while!
    2) A special invitation to all who read this to attend a get together with Dale Ahlquist on Saturday the 29th at 6 PM. We plan on this taking place at the John Paul II theater and lasting about 60 – 90 minutes. This will give you a chance to talk with the leading authority on all things having to do with GKC- exciting!!!
    Looking forward to seeing you.

  2. Well, we open “The Surprise” in a week.

    Rehearsals are going well. It is most interesting how the scenes can be rehearsed seperately and everything comes together and works when the cast gets together. I had thought more “together” rehearsals would be necessary, but Kevin O’Brien evidently knows his stuff. The pros make us amateurs feel like, well, pros by their patience and helpfulness. I think we all will look and sound like pros when we get to the stage.

    Maria Romine is playing the part of The Princess of Garfangana, and teaching everybody to swordfight on stage. Chesterton’s Princess doesn’t stoop to violence herself though. Turns out Maria’s a theater entrepreneur herself, and owns Swords and Roses®, billed as a sister act! Maria’s the statuesque beauty on the left in the photo, and she’s certified to teach stage combat. She says the main goal of stage combat is not to ruin the other actor’s head-shot. Hmmmmmm. Last night I whacked Kevin on the hand though. Gotta be careful. Sorry Kevin.

    There’s another rehearsal for The King tonight, and then we hit it hard next week. I hope we have a big crowd.

  3. Earlier today I was over at the theater helping out a bit with the scenery. There isn’t very much of it, but then this story is driven primarily by the text anyway.

    Tonight will be the first rehersal with the whole cast together. I understand that all the “tech” details will be worked out as well: the lights will be pointed to the right spots, and the microphones will be fitted-up and tested. Should be fun. Tomorrow: costumes.

  4. Last night (the 18th) was quite an experience for a theaterical “newbie”. Working with microphones, lighting, moving around on a stage with props; it was quite an experience. Everybody was there except for Gary the Guard; he will be there tonight, but Molly (Maria) will not be. The theater itself is very nice and the seats are very comfortable. Looking forward to tonight- costumes!!

  5. Costumes are a pain! I won’t go into details. But they are definitely helpful getting one into character. Man, you should have seen Tom (The King) strutting around after putting on about six layers of garb. Kevin seemed to think things went well and the tech support was fantastic.
    Got to meet “The Author” for the first time. Gary (the Guard) and I worked out the part we have in Act II- involves some coordination with the Princess off stage and then her entrance. We should have it down with a run through tonight.
    The printed program looks very good and gives a lot of information about GKC. It mentions the American and St. Louis Chesterton Society. This whole production should lead to a “surge” in people checking us out.
    Looking forward to tonight!!!

  6. Hey, man! I OWN that character.

    The costume weighs more than ten pounds, and when wearing tights, poofy-pants and a crown, one must strut! The detailing on the thing is amazing: the costume must be worth $2,500. The fabrics are rich, and the hand-detailing is just incredible.

    Its very hot with the stage lighting turned on, and I’m warned to drink lots of water during the performance to avoid dehydration. I can tell from the rehersals Wednesday and yesterday that your voice is stronger when your throat isn’t dry.

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