After a year of work, senior seminarian Andy Thuringer’s self-written play came to life Sunday in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Rev. Michael Becker, rector of the St. John Vianney Seminary, asked Thuringer to write the play, which is named “Living Stations of the Cross.”
“I asked Andrew Thuringer to consider a living stations project about a year ago, with students, families of seminarians and donors of SJV in mind,” Becker said. “The thought was to offer something of a spiritual nature as a gift to these parties.”
Thuringer was excited to display his year’s worth of hard work and dedication at the play’s one-time performance.
“The stations themselves are like an ancient meditation,” Thuringer said. “The stations start with the trial of Jesus from pilot and end with him being taken down from the cross and put in the tomb.”
Thuringer studied abroad in Rome last fall where he wrote most of the play, and he said writing “Living Stations of the Cross” in Rome was the greatest spiritual gift of his experience there.
“Rome is full of amazing sacred art and so the stations are usually like in painting or sculpture,” Thuringer said. “I wanted to try and take the things I saw there and try to bring them into the play.”
Thuringer sought advice from others while writing the play, including his director from high school and a few close friends.
Sophomore Caitlin Woodard played the role of Mary Magdalene in Sunday’s performance. Woodard was a former actress at her high school in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she performed with Thuringer.
“I’ve missed acting and we don’t have any theatre here, so I just thought it would be a good opportunity to get back into it, I thought it’d be kind of fun,” Woodard said.
The students started practicing every Saturday about three weeks ago.
“It’s certainly been really busy; it’s been kind of nuts, but at the same time I made sure that the people who were in it could devote the time to it,” Thuringer said. “It’s something that’s a lot of fun; it’s not a chore.”
Fellow seminarian Rob Storey plays the role of Jesus in the play. After already being apart of the “Living Stations of the Cross” three times in high school, he was still excited to be apart of Thuringer’s version of the story.
“I was pumped when we first went through it. The whole idea just really excites me,” Storey said. “The first time we sat down and just talked through the whole play, he was conveying his vision and everything for it, I just think he did a phenomenal job.”
Thuringer said he loves working with theatre, but isn’t as passionate about writing, which is why it took him a year to write the play. He wishes the Catholic Church would use theatre more, so he was glad he got the chance to be apart of a theatrical experience before he graduates.
“Andrew is a tremendously gifted actor,” Becker said. “We saw that from the beginning when he arrived at SJV.”
Anne Becken can be reached at email@example.com.