Czerwinski’s Review of The Jeweler’s Shop (1988)

 Kotlarczyk’s Rhapsodic Theater was the crucible where the future pope’s beliefs were tested. Wojtyla championed the cause of the “theater of the Word,” whose chief concern, as Boleslaw Taborski points out in his introduction, is “not so much with external events as with exploring man’s soul; it is there that the ‘action’ often unfolds.” It is also the reason for the static nature of Wojtyla’s dramas, especially “Our God’s Brother” and “Radiation of Fatherhood.”

The message in each is in keeping with Christian thought: “Let yourself be molded by love” and “Go on searching.” According to the young Wojtyla (1945-50), a revolution may come, but the life devoted to Christ is the greater reward and a “greater freedom.” 

The message is the same in The Jeweler’s Shop, but it is more accessible to the reader-viewer. The theme of love is developed in a way that is fresh and original. It is a modern mystery play with all the ingredients of a psychological thriller: suspense, romance, interesting situations and characters, and imaginative plot twists. The voice of the seer is dominant, however: “The future depends on love.” It is this statement that is repeated throughout the five plays. “Love, which springs from freedom” is a two-edged sword, for “you too, like me, must be liberated from freedom / through love.” This thought is the key element in all the plays: “Love denies freedom of will to him who loves.” It also happens to form the basis of Christian thought. 

If there is an award that can be given to a translator and editor, Boleslaw Taborski should be its recipient. His English renditions are magnificent, and the introductions to the plays are perceptive and definitive. (On Wojtyla’s plays, see also WLT 54:2, pp. 240-43.) 

E. J. Czerwinski SUNY, Stony Brook in World Literature Today, Vol. 62, No.
3, (Summer,1988), pp. 477-478

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