Damien: A One-Man Play Celebrating Blessed Damien's Canonization
Date of Performance: October 22, 2009
A one man play by Aldyth Morris
Performed by Casey Groves
Directed by George Drance, SJ
With Set Elements by Paul Falcon
Synopsis- Father Damien was a Belgian missionary priest who went to Hawaii in the 1800s. He was a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts who continue missionary work in the spirit of Father Damien throughout the world. The play begins in 1936 when Father Damien’s body is exhumed from its grave on Molokai to be sent back to Belgium for burial in a place of honor. Father Damien addresses the audience, voicing his protest that he is being taken away from the people for whom he had cared and died. The story then follows his life backwards. As his casket is at first taken to the cathedral in Honolulu, Father Damien tells of his arrival there in 1873. When his casket is loaded onto a ship and passes Molokai, Groves dramatizes the bulk of the story, beginning with Father Damien’s first impressions. ‘Dear God, how could such things be?’ he asks when he sees the lepers and their living conditions. He soon decides to stay. ‘This is my niche. This is what I was meant to do. This is why I was born.’ The play closes with Father Damien returning to Belgium, recognizing the farm of his childhood and the Sacred Heart house where his father took him when he was 20 to become a priest.” – From National Catholic Reporter article by Retta Blaney
Performance History and Bio- Casey Groves has had two successful off-Broadway productions with Aldyth Morris’ Damien and has toured it throughout the United States. In honor of Blessed Damien’s canonization, Bishop Larry Silva of Hawaii invited Casey to tour the play to churches and schools throughout the Hawaiian Islands in April and May of this year. He has also been blessed with the opportunity to perform Damien in the presence of Fr. Damien's relic this October at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco and at St. Joseph's Church in Alameda, CA where the relic will be housed while en route to Hawaii from Rome. Television credits include Damages with Glenn Close, Law and Order, One Life to Live, and As the World Turns. He is an adjunct theater professor at St. Peter’s College in NJ and achieved an MA in Religion from Holy Names College in Oakland and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Vermont.
Thanks- Casey Groves would like to thank Magis Theatre Company’s Artistic Director and the director of Damien, George Drance, SJ. He would like to thank his wife Rachel Whitman for her support, encouragement, and for sharing the journey.
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