Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Teresita: An Original One-Act Play Based on the Life of St. Teresa of Avila by Michele Morris

Teresita: A One-Act Play Based on the Life of St. Teresa of Avila is a lively, humorous, thought-provoking play inspired by the life of a saint who had lots of personality and a great deal of faith.  This original one-act play written and performed by playwright, actress, and director Michele Morris is one you won’t want to miss!
As Michele Morris has been discerning her own lifelong vocation, she has asked the Lord many times throughout her life a question that appears over and over in her play: “What do You want of me?”  This question is the refrain directly from a poem penned by St. Teresa of Avila called “In the Hands of God.” 
Those who are familiar with the life of St. Teresa of Avila tend to be quite impressed by how true to form the play is in presenting the facts of this woman’s life, particularly her childhood and the time leading up to her discerning God was calling her from a life of privilege and popularity to enter a cloistered convent.  Others who don’t know as much about this Doctor of the Church are often inspired to research her after seeing this brilliant play.
Michele Morris portrays the young, vivacious St. Teresa of Avila beautifully.  Her interest in things of the world and contentment having close relationships with family and friends pose a number of challenges with which the playwright is all too familiar.  In Michele’s own spiritual journey, she has felt God’s Presence from very early on in her life, but it’s taken longer than she hoped or expected for her to discern what God wants of her. 

There’s a great deal to be said about the timing of this play, the Opening night, July 16, which is the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and the clear blessing of the Holy Spirit in this endeavor.  Michele had been working on the play for months.  After reading and researching a great deal about St. Teresa of Avila, she began work on the one-woman play she was inspired to write and perform as a fundraiser to pay off her student loan from getting her Masters in Divinity so she’s free to become a postulant of the Carmelite Sisters by the Sea.
Friends eagerly supported her effort by offering their own talents to assist in the production.  What seemed like a far-off dream became a reality in the days and weeks leading up to the first scheduled performance.  A friend came forward to make her costume, another to help her with direction and rehearsal stepped up.  Soon portraits, fliers, business cards, a website, and a location for Opening night were all provided. 
I got chills watching Teresita: A One-Act Play Based on the Life of St. Teresa of Avila both at the by-invitation-only dress rehearsal and the Opening night performance.  As someone who has read and thoroughly enjoyed learning about St. Teresa of Avila over the years, I really appreciated the attention to detail, inclusion of factual events, and the spirit with which this exuberant woman’s life was portrayed.  Knowing a great deal about many of Michele’s own struggles throughout her discernment only served to make the play that much more amazing and believable.       
For more information about where Michele Morris will be starting August 6, 2013, visit the website for the Carmelite Sisters by the Sea. 
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