Gordon students aren’t the only ones who see summer as an opportunity for fun or new experiences; many, in fact, are heading overseas, interning in professional settings or gaining valuable work experiences. (More on those soon!) Gordon’s faculty are busy too. They use June, July and August for special projects, study trips and ongoing research they’re passionate about. This is the first in a series of stories about Summer Scholars, exploring what Gordon professors are up to in between semesters.
An exciting project of my summer is to produce, in Orvieto, Italy, a play by one of the most esteemed contemporary playwrights of Eastern Europe, András Visky.
Visky’s play Juliet is a riveting 90-minute solo work, a monologue spoken by the title character in near-delirium as a Job-like cry from the heart at the end of her endurance in a labor camp with her seven young children. The play is based on the experience of the author’s family under the brutal Communist regime in Romania during the early 1960s.
In 1939, Visky’s father had fled Romania for Hungary, where he met his future wife. After World War II, the couple returned to Transylvania, by then a part of Romania. There, Visky’s father, a pastor in the Hungarian Reformed Church, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the crime of “organization against socialist public order.” Soon after, his wife and their children were themselves deported to a Romanian gulag a thousand kilometers to the east. Visky was only two years old at the time. In 1964, the family was reunited when his father and other political prisoners were released during a short-lived period of relaxation of repression. Visky’s father’s ministry in the Protestant churches of Eastern Europe continued all the more powerfully after his release.
Visky–as poet, playwright and essayist–carries on in a different mode his family’s deep and mature Christian faith. He is the author of more than a dozen plays, staged variously in Romania, Hungary, France, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and the United States. Continue reading