TERESA!

  A TWO ACT DRAMEDY

                                                BY

                   ANTHONY E. GALLO

 










                            




This two act dramedy by ANTHONY E GALLO   is not meant for solemnly religious sourpuss types.  Agnostics, atheists, and feminists are very welcome.  This play is mostly about sinners.  Teresa has enemies (gads of them) and friends (even more).  Some say she has visions: others say hallucinations: “Our Lady of the Histrionics.”  A   lusty friar, a hog farmer, an intrusive Royal mistress, a confused novice and some spies present even more surprises.

Teresa is about a determined feminist mystic,   one of the most brilliant and liberated women of all time.   She jokes, tricks, deceives, manipulates, bribes, strategizes, lies and triumphs. Yet today this unpredictable woman is known as St. Teresa of Avila, and a Doctor of the Church.    This granddaughter of a noble Marano (“that Jewish woman”) is at odds with the Church hierarchy: nuns, King Philip, the civil authorities, members of the Inquisition, the Grand inquisitor, God and some say all the angels and saints. And she outsmarts them all with her cunningness, sly tongue, sheer brilliance, skillful adaptation, humility, arrogance, and craziness.  She even reprimands God:  “No wonder you have so few friends.  You treat us so badly”   

 The charges against her are many including heresy and sex.  She herself claimed that she was driven and bribable, even with a sardine, but only saved by God's grace. King Philip of Spain does nothing to help her but has her books by his side at all times
 

          

PRODUCTION  HISTORY

July 2017          Greenbelt Arts Center  Full Production

October 2015     Cosmos Club

July 2015             Cosmowriters


PRODUCTION CAST

Teresa                                           Emily Canavan                                                                         

King Philip                                   James McDaniel                                                                       

Friar Antonio                              George Spencer                                  

Father Alberto                            Grant Bagley 

Benjamin                                     Sam Simon                     

Bishop Lopez                               Steve Rosenthal                                                                      

Inquisitor                                     Grant Bagley            

Sister Olga                                   Renate Wallenberg              

Sister Maria                                 Margaret Bagley                                

Bishop Pedro                              Rodney Ross                                     

Novice Norma                              Madeleine Koon

Voice                                             Grant Bagley

Eufrasia                                      Beatrix Whitehall

Ensemble                                      All actors  Except Teresa



Reviews and Commentaries:  2015

________________________________
Tony

This Is very interesting.

Maybe work some of it into narrator's introduction?

Or maybe it's already there, and I just didn't pay enough attention.

It needs some work, but I do think you have a good foundation.

    Eric
________________________________________
Theresa

Why thank us? Without you this marvelous idea would never have gotten off the gound.

You are an inspiring teacher and one of the most outrageously creative artists I have ever known.
So there on you.

With gratitude,

John
_________________________________
Tony it was a real treat to be a part of this whole fine  cast in what I think is your best play so far...thanks for this opportunity  and for all future possibilities.  Bunty
__________________________

Here are some serious comments about the play.

I wasn't sure what it was about (about Teresa, yes, but otherwise?).  When I was working at my screenplay, had to be able to describe the "high concept" - what it's really about.  For example, Teresa overcomes xxx to do xxxx.  I would say only that here's a story about someone apparently with lots of interesting aspects (but no one thing especially compelling) who doesn't even die tragically.  There was a lot of information about her, but mostly given in one or two lines by someone else.  (I think the play was too short for the subject matter.)  Too much telling by others, often without her present, not enough showing (by her).

My suggestion for the play:  have it all (except last scene) be at the inquisition, which would bring out everything you need via the questioning, using using several flashback scenes for particularly interesting events critical to the story.  Last scene could be the death scene (or funeral scene).

Anyway, my two cents worth.  And again, on Nov. 10th will be at Cosmotographer dinner; Mary Jane might be available; that would be interesting.Tony,

I have a sneaking suspicion that you have not completed your literary and
theatrical probes into the life and works of S. Teresa. It was quite
remarkable that you fired up those good actors as to the passions of this
woman, but you had a mixed audience  equally engaged in what might be
regarded as an off beat subject. There were many powerful moments in the
drama, and the actors projected them dynamically.

I have been fascinated with Teresa since I was a teenager, and the whole
pull of mysticism to both unite and propel a human being. A related
quest, of course, would be the subject of ecstasy (ex stasis)  which you
alluded to in the drama. Regarding the Bernini sculpure which was depiced
on he cover of the program one can ask: who experiences the state, is the
subject well balanced psychologically, what would be the factors to
inhibit it, and the relation between spiritual and carnal ecstasy.

The luncheon was lovely, the setting quite nice. Obviously the Cosmos
Club is serious about encouraging new plays. I was happy to be there.

Mary Carter
________________________________
T_________________
Tony

This Is very interesting.

Maybe work some of it into narrator's introduction?

Or maybe it's already there, and I just didn't pay enough attention.

It needs some work, but I do think you have a good foundation.

    Eric
________________________________________
Theresa

Why thank us? Without you this marvelous idea would never have gotten off the gound.

You are an inspiring teacher and one of the most outrageously creative artists I have ever known.
So there on you.

With gratitude,

John
_________________________________
Tony it was a real treat to be a part of this whole fine  cast in what I think is your best play so far...thanks for this opportunity  and for all future possibilities.  Bunty
__________________________

Here are some serious comments about the play.

I wasn't sure what it was about (about Teresa, yes, but otherwise?).  When I was working at my screenplay, had to be able to describe the "high concept" - what it's really about.  For example, Teresa overcomes xxx to do xxxx.  I would say only that here's a story about someone apparently with lots of interesting aspects (but no one thing especially compelling) who doesn't even die tragically.  There was a lot of information about her, but mostly given in one or two lines by someone else.  (I think the play was too short for the subject matter.)  Too much telling by others, often without her present, not enough showing (by her).

My suggestion for the play:  have it all (except last scene) be at the inquisition, which would bring out everything you need via the questioning, using using several flashback scenes for particularly interesting events critical to the story.  Last scene could be the death scene (or funeral scene).

Anyway, my two cents worth.  And again, on Nov. 10th will be at Cosmotographer dinner; Mary Jane might be available; that would be interesting.Tony,

I have a sneaking suspicion that you have not completed your literary and
theatrical probes into the life and works of S. Teresa. It was quite
remarkable that you fired up those good actors as to the passions of this
woman, but you had a mixed audience  equally engaged in what might be
regarded as an off beat subject. There were many powerful moments in the
drama, and the actors projected them dynamically.

I have been fascinated with Teresa since I was a teenager, and the whole
pull of mysticism to both unite and propel a human being. A related
quest, of course, would be the subject of ecstasy (ex stasis)  which you
alluded to in the drama. Regarding the Bernini sculpure which was depiced
on he cover of the program one can ask: who experiences the state, is the
subject well balanced psychologically, what would be the factors to
inhibit it, and the relation between spiritual and carnal ecstasy.

The luncheon was lovely, the setting quite nice. Obviously the Cosmos
Club is serious about encouraging new plays. I was happy to be there.

Mary Carter
________________________________
Tony

This Is very interesting.

Maybe work some of it into narrator's introduction?

Or maybe it's already there, and I just didn't pay enough attention.

It needs some work, but I do think you have a good foundation.

    Eric
________________________________________
Theresa

Why thank us? Without you this marvelous idea would never have gotten off the gound.

You are an inspiring teacher and one of the most outrageously creative artists I have ever known.
So there on you.

With gratitude,

John
_________________________________
Tony it was a real treat to be a part of this whole fine  cast in what I think is your best play so far...thanks for this opportunity  and for all future possibilities.  Bunty
__________________________

Here are some serious comments about the play.

I wasn't sure what it was about (about Teresa, yes, but otherwise?).  When I was working at my screenplay, had to be able to describe the "high concept" - what it's really about.  For example, Teresa overcomes xxx to do xxxx.  I would say only that here's a story about someone apparently with lots of interesting aspects (but no one thing especially compelling) who doesn't even die tragically.  There was a lot of information about her, but mostly given in one or two lines by someone else.  (I think the play was too short for the subject matter.)  Too much telling by others, often without her present, not enough showing (by her).

My suggestion for the play:  have it all (except last scene) be at the inquisition, which would bring out everything you need via the questioning, using using several flashback scenes for particularly interesting events critical to the story.  Last scene could be the death scene (or funeral scene).

Anyway, my two cents worth.  And again, on Nov. 10th will be at Cosmotographer dinner; Mary Jane might be available; that would be interesting.


Ed  Molnar

_________________________________________________________________________________________________







        Ross Rodney <Rod.Ross@comcast.net>
        Today at 8:56 AM

To

        Tony and Susan Gallo

Tony

It’s been a full schedule for me lately.  Early Sunday morning, October 18th,  during the wee hours of the morning, I jotted down some notes for a subsequent e-mail about Teresa.  Then I was off to China, with my “longest day” yesterday, with a plane leaving Hong Kong at 11:00 a.m. and another touching down at Dulles around 4:15 p.m.

Anyway, for what it’s worth:

1)  My favorite episode of the play with the story of the public shame and subsequent suicide of the senior church member, and how Teresa and nuns at the convent responded to the death, and how they got around the prohibition imposed on them against saying prayers for the deceased.  Having had three years of high school Latin, I empathized with the sister’s reference to “flagrante delicto.”

2)  Unlike the subject matter of The Springfield Boys, with my knowing something of Lincoln, Speed and Herndon, virtually everything about Teresa involved material that I was unfamiliar with — other than Teresa’s Jewish antecedents.  Assuming the “situation” was similar for most others in the audience, I think that lack of background was the reason you didn’t get the audience reaction you would have liked.

3)  I was taken with the fact that Teresa could take the love story in the Song of Songs and rework it into something so graphically sexual — to me wonderfully pornographically sexual.  In the back of my mind was the wonderment that as a virgin she should have been able to verbalize the rapture of sexual organism.

4)  I’ve long thought of the Inquisition as a way for the Church to weed out Conversos who had become too powerful in Spanish circles, as a kind of McCarthy witch hunt.  But with your play I gained an appreciation that while the notion of cross-examination is important for the defendant in a trial, to get full views from an individual making an accusation, it may be necessary to guarantee that individual freedom from disclosure.

5)  Have you explored the possiibility of having the play done as a staged reading at the Hartke Theater?  It would be enlighening to read a critique or review of your play from someone on the Catholic University faculty.

All the best,
Rod Ross


        Ross Rodney <Rod.Ross@comcast.net>
        Today at 8:56 AM

To

        Tony and Susan Gallo

Tony

It’s been a full schedule for me lately.  Early Sunday morning, October 18th,  during the wee hours of the morning, I jotted down some notes for a subsequent e-mail about Teresa.  Then I was off to China, with my “longest day” yesterday, with a plane leaving Hong Kong at 11:00 a.m. and another touching down at Dulles around 4:15 p.m.

Anyway, for what it’s worth:

1)  My favorite episode of the play with the story of the public shame and subsequent suicide of the senior church member, and how Teresa and nuns at the convent responded to the death, and how they got around the prohibition imposed on them against saying prayers for the deceased.  Having had three years of high school Latin, I empathized with the sister’s reference to “flagrante delicto.”

2)  Unlike the subject matter of The Springfield Boys, with my knowing something of Lincoln, Speed and Herndon, virtually everything about Teresa involved material that I was unfamiliar with — other than Teresa’s Jewish antecedents.  Assuming the “situation” was similar for most others in the audience, I think that lack of background was the reason you didn’t get the audience reaction you would have liked.

3)  I was taken with the fact that Teresa could take the love story in the Song of Songs and rework it into something so graphically sexual — to me wonderfully pornographically sexual.  In the back of my mind was the wonderment that as a virgin she should have been able to verbalize the rapture of sexual organism.

4)  I’ve long thought of the Inquisition as a way for the Church to weed out Conversos who had become too powerful in Spanish circles, as a kind of McCarthy witch hunt.  But with your play I gained an appreciation that while the notion of cross-examination is important for the defendant in a trial, to get full views from an individual making an accusation, it may be necessary to guarantee that individual freedom from disclosure.

5)  Have you explored the possiibility of having the play done as a staged reading at the Hartke Theater?  It would be enlighening to read a critique or review of your play from someone on the Catholic University faculty.

All the best,
Rod Ross

        Ross Rodney <Rod.Ross@comcast.net>
        Today at 8:56 AM

To

        Tony and Susan Gallo

Tony

It’s been a full schedule for me lately.  Early Sunday morning, October 18th,  during the wee hours of the morning, I jotted down some notes for a subsequent e-mail about Teresa.  Then I was off to China, with my “longest day” yesterday, with a plane leaving Hong Kong at 11:00 a.m. and another touching down at Dulles around 4:15 p.m.

Anyway, for what it’s worth:

1)  My favorite episode of the play with the story of the public shame and subsequent suicide of the senior church member, and how Teresa and nuns at the convent responded to the death, and how they got around the prohibition imposed on them against saying prayers for the deceased.  Having had three years of high school Latin, I empathized with the sister’s reference to “flagrante delicto.”

2)  Unlike the subject matter of The Springfield Boys, with my knowing something of Lincoln, Speed and Herndon, virtually everything about Teresa involved material that I was unfamiliar with — other than Teresa’s Jewish antecedents.  Assuming the “situation” was similar for most others in the audience, I think that lack of background was the reason you didn’t get the audience reaction you would have liked.

3)  I was taken with the fact that Teresa could take the love story in the Song of Songs and rework it into something so graphically sexual — to me wonderfully pornographically sexual.  In the back of my mind was the wonderment that as a virgin she should have been able to verbalize the rapture of sexual organism.

4)  I’ve long thought of the Inquisition as a way for the Church to weed out Conversos who had become too powerful in Spanish circles, as a kind of McCarthy witch hunt.  But with your play I gained an appreciation that while the notion of cross-examination is important for the defendant in a trial, to get full views from an individual making an accusation, it may be necessary to guarantee that individual freedom from disclosure.

5)  Have you explored the possiibility of having the play done as a staged reading at the Hartke Theater?  It would be enlighening to read a critique or review of your play from someone on the Catholic University faculty.

All the best,
Rod Ross


        Ross Rodney <Rod.Ross@comcast.net>
        Today at 8:56 AM

To

        Tony and Susan Gallo

Tony

It’s been a full schedule for me lately.  Early Sunday morning, October 18th,  during the wee hours of the morning, I jotted down some notes for a subsequent e-mail about Teresa.  Then I was off to China, with my “longest day” yesterday, with a plane leaving Hong Kong at 11:00 a.m. and another touching down at Dulles around 4:15 p.m.

Anyway, for what it’s worth:

1)  My favorite episode of the play with the story of the public shame and subsequent suicide of the senior church member, and how Teresa and nuns at the convent responded to the death, and how they got around the prohibition imposed on them against saying prayers for the deceased.  Having had three years of high school Latin, I empathized with the sister’s reference to “flagrante delicto.”

2)  Unlike the subject matter of The Springfield Boys, with my knowing something of Lincoln, Speed and Herndon, virtually everything about Teresa involved material that I was unfamiliar with — other than Teresa’s Jewish antecedents.  Assuming the “situation” was similar for most others in the audience, I think that lack of background was the reason you didn’t get the audience reaction you would have liked.

3)  I was taken with the fact that Teresa could take the love story in the Song of Songs and rework it into something so graphically sexual — to me wonderfully pornographically sexual.  In the back of my mind was the wonderment that as a virgin she should have been able to verbalize the rapture of sexual organism.

4)  I’ve long thought of the Inquisition as a way for the Church to weed out Conversos who had become too powerful in Spanish circles, as a kind of McCarthy witch hunt.  But with your play I gained an appreciation that while the notion of cross-examination is important for the defendant in a trial, to get full views from an individual making an accusation, it may be necessary to guarantee that individual freedom from disclosure.

5)  Have you explored the possiibility of having the play done as a staged reading at the Hartke Theater?  It would be enlighening to read a critique or review of your play from someone on the Catholic University faculty.

All the best,
Rod Ross

CAST AT  GREENBELT ARTS CENTER

TERESA      Lindsay Williams

KING PHILLIP   James McDaniel




















JACK FOLEY COMMENTARY   JULY 16 2015


Hi, Tony,




    Good to see you in good health and shape and mounting a new production!




    I enjoyed this performance of Teresa, but the Second Act left me feeling the play is too short.  In terms of play-time, it's a little short of 90 minutes, but this is not what I mean.  I mean I feel we reached Teresa's death too soon, and this feeling made me wonder why.




   I have struggled myself with writing plays about historical figures (in my case St. Augustine and Heloise of Abelard fame).  I have not hesitated to fictionalize, that is, to make up situations and characters (including amalgamations) to act as analogues and/or analogies for people and events covering a lot more time and space than a 2-hour play can handle.  I told you I have written a short novel about Teresa of Avila as witnessed by one of her confessors.  I have stuck pretty close to the actual history but have invented where necessary.  But in a novel you can cover "a lot more time and space" more conveniently than in a play.




   You have chosen to tell what I would call a "completely fictional" story of Teresa, although everything in it derives from Teresa's writings and from the historical records.  I frankly can't think of a better way to deal with Teresa in a 90-120 minutes stage time-frame.  In history Teresa had two or three major turning points in her life, e.g. her "conversion" at 40-41 from a self-centered "beata" to a sincere, mystical devotee of Jesus and missionary for reform of the Carmelites.  Later on the Discalceds won independence from the Mitigated Carmelites, who had persecuted her and the Discalceds, but this independence was largely accomplished by others, albeit under her inspiration and enthusiastic pushing.  I think either of these turning points would be very difficult, if not impossible, to dramatize effectively.




        So avoiding these difficult-to-dramatize turning points is probably wise.  What occurs to me, however, is that whatever "fictional" plot you devise for the play, Teresa has to initiate the principal actions of the play.  As theater folk like to say, she has to go on a journey which changes her significantly.  In Teresa, though, she seems to have arrived at the end of her journey before the beginning of the play.  You choose to make the Spanish hierarchy (epitomized by Bishop Lopez) and the Inquisition Teresa's major antagonists.  (I think as antagonists they were actually secondary to the Mitigated Carmelites, but this is your play, not mine.)  But they seem to initiate actions against Teresa instead off Teresa initiating actions on stage to which Lopez and the Inquisition respond -- vigorously.  Much off-stage business is referred to, but I think the significant actions of the play must be on stage.  (Easy for me to say: I have no idea how to proceed!)  In other words, Teresa has a goal at the beginning of the play which she wants to achieve by the end of the play; bishops and Inquisitors, not to mention other nuns and the King's mistress! try to prevent her from achieving it.  How she manages to outwit and (as she did!) convert them to her intentions would be the substance of the play.



    


Commentary from Robert Swarts


The Subject performance is amazing.  Well-authored and professionally performed.  I am truly truly amazed at how you put the "Teresa" performance together and equally so at the each of the talented actors you bring together.  Brilliance to the -nth degree!  Kudos, Tony, to you and the  cast.


Below is the email I sent Carlos Sanchez-Reyes this a.m. to let him know of the "Teresa" performance and as well of the great reviews it is garnering.  I hope you like it.


Thank you for your time, efforts, the entertainment you deliver to the public.  For letting me know, too.  Looking forward to "Mr. Morris" and I sure hope you can deliver it within two years and hopefully earlier.  I'll be there for you, to help, if needed.  In bringing "Mr. Morris" to the stage.  Yay!!!

Wishing you a good day and great, productive week ahead.
 
  Carlos,
 
  I went to the St. Teresa of Avila performance last night and it was very well done.  It is getting good reviews, per the following as well as by other critics --->  http://dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2017/07/16/review-teresa-seventh-street-playhouse/  Well written, presented "Teresa" performance.  Enjoyed by all.  Lots of standup, loud applause at the end of the show.  
 
 
  The playwright, my friend Tony Gallo, much appreciated learning of your having resided in Avila and the comments on Teresa you thoughtfully communicated.  I showed him to post cards you had sent me with Avila pictured on the card (one at night and the other daytime, showing all of Avila from outside the Wall.  Tony loved them and shared the cards with the "Teresa" cast.  I cannot thank you enough for your being so good and loyal a friend over these many years.  
 
> All for now.  Trust you and your family are well and life is good in your corner of the world.  All is well here.  
>
>
> Your everlasting friend, Carlos....BobThe Subject performance is amazing.  Well-authored and professionally performed.  I am truly truly amazed at how you put the "Teresa" performance together and equally so at the each of the talented actors you bring together.  Brilliance to the -nth degree!  Kudos, Tony, to you and the  cast.


Below is the email I sent Carlos Sanchez-Reyes this a.m. to let him know of the "Teresa" performance and as well of the great reviews it is garnering.  I hope you like it.


Thank you for your time, efforts, the entertainment you deliver to the public.  For letting me know, too.  Looking forward to "Mr. Morris" and I sure hope you can deliver it within two years and hopefully earlier.  I'll be there for you, to help, if needed.  In bringing "Mr. Morris" to the stage.  Yay!!!


Wishing you a good day and great, productive week ahead.


 
  Carlos,
 
  I went to the St. Teresa of Avila performance last night and it was very well done.  It is getting good reviews, per the following as well as by other critics --->  http://dcmetrotheaterarts.com/2017/07/16/review-teresa-seventh-street-playhouse/  Well written, presented "Teresa" performance.  Enjoyed by all.  Lots of standup, loud applause at the end of the show.  
 
 
  The playwright, my friend Tony Gallo, much appreciated learning of your having resided in Avila and the comments on Teresa you thoughtfully communicated.  I showed him to post cards you had sent me with Avila pictured on the card (one at night and the other daytime, showing all of Avila from outside the Wall.  Tony loved them and shared the cards with the "Teresa" cast.  I cannot thank you enough for your being so good and loyal a friend over these many years.  
 
> All for now.  Trust you and your family are well and life is good in your corner of the world.  All is well here.  
>
>
> Your everlasting friend, Carlos....Bobv

​​​​​ANTHONY E. GALLO
agallo2368@verizon.net     202 544 6973