The word “Jesuit” is not often uttered in the same sentence as “Shakespearean,” but the Loyola Project aims to combine the two concepts with “The Tempest,” opening tonight at Kubiak Center on the Gonzaga Prep campus.
The Loyola Project is made up of Jesuit scholastics, young men training to be Jesuit priests through Gonzaga University’s St. Michael’s Institute.
Periodically, they stage theater events to raise money for various projects. In 1992, they staged “The Fantasticks.” In 1993, they did a Christmas show called “The Wind and The Word.”
This year, they’re tackling one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays to raise money for the Yupik Eskimos in Pilot Station, Alaska.
“The Tempest” is a fitting choice, since it speaks to spiritual as well as earthly concerns.
“‘The Tempest’ is a mysterious and melancholy and funny and scary play,” said the Rev. Bob Egan, a Gonzaga University professor of theology and director of the play. “It is about different kinds of love relationships and different kinds of betrayal, and ultimately about forgiveness and the hard work and imagination it may require.”
Most of the cast and crew are scholastics. For most of them, “The Tempest” is their first play. However, a few parts will be played by Gonzaga University students for the very good reason that the script calls for women as well as men. Mary Catherine Stiller will play Miranda, the lead female role.
“The Tempest,” one of Shakespeare’s final works, takes place on a desert island. A deposed duke and his magician, Prospero, cause a boat to be shipwrecked. Friends and enemies are thrown together with sometimes comical, often enlightening results.
It has been a tremendous educational experience for the scholastics.
“Just like preaching or teaching, art allows God to work through us,” said Dwayne Varas, who plays Ferdinand. “It allows us to explore different facets of ourselves. It calls up new capacities, maybe even latent ones.”
Funds raised by this play will be used “to assist the growth of an indigenous church that is fully Yupik, fully Catholic,” “The Jesuits have walked with the Yupik people for scores of years and are committed to continue that journey, to insure the survival of both their Eskimo culture and their Catholic faith,” according to a Loyola
Project information sheet.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with story: “The Tempest” Location and time: Kubiak Center on the Gonzaga Prep campus, tonight, Saturday and Sunday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $8, $6 for students and seniors, and $35 for the opening night benefit gala; 328-4220, ext. 6190 to reserve tickets