‘Imagining Heschel’ — a dialogue between renowned rabbi and cardinal — to be performed May 18 at DePaul University

Dr. King taught that, in the end, how we live every day is of the greatest importance. Each morning we must remember that there is work to be done. — “Imagining Heschel,” a play by Colin Greer

CHICAGO — A staged reading of the play “Imagining Heschel: In Search of Radical Amazement,” written by Colin Greer, will be presented at 6 p.m. May 18 at The Theatre School’s Reskin Rehearsal Studio, Room 301, on DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus. 

The reading will be followed by a Q&A and reception. David Y. Chack, with DePaul’s Theatre Studies faculty, is the director. Chack also is the artistic director of ShPIeL and executive director of the Association for Jewish Theatre.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, left, with Cardinal Augustin Bea, S.J. — key figures in Colin Greer’s play, “Imagining Heschel.” A staged reading of the play will be performed May 18 at DePaul University. (Photo courtesy of AJC Archives)

The play, in great part, is a series of imagined conversations taking place in the 1960s between Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, an acclaimed Jewish scholar and religious thinker of the 20th century, and Cardinal Augustin Bea, S.J., an influential papal advisor at the Second Vatican Council. Chack noted that Heschel also was involved with Martin Luther King Jr., and that activism is a key element in the play.

“This staged dramatic reading chooses moments that are fictionalized and compressed over time from Heschel's work with the Vatican. Rabbi Heschel was integral to the Second Vatican Council's work on the Nostra Aetate,” Chack said.

“Heschel was a strong ally to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the play also provides a prism from viewing the civil rights movement in order to understand the challenges of social justice, race, anti-Semitism and reconciliation that are still with us to this day,” Chack said.

David Y. Chack, with DePaul University’s Theatre Studies faculty, is the director of “Imagining Heschel,” written by Colin Greer. Chack also is the artistic director of ShPIeL and executive director of the Association for Jewish Theatre.

The cast and production staff is comprised of students and alumni from The Theatre School at DePaul.

The cast features Michael Stock, MFA Acting 2017, as Rabbi Heschel; Charles Johnston, MFA Acting 2016, as Cardinal Bea; Jalen Gilbert, BFA Acting 2016, as Jonah; and Noah Laufer, an alumnus, BFA Acting 2015, as Fr. Brian Martin.

The production staff includes Mario E. Wolfe, BFA Stage Management 2016, production manager; Ben Falk, an alumnus, BFA Theatre Arts 2015, dramaturg; Abaigeal O’Donnell, BFA Theatre Arts 2017, coordination assistant; and Jillian Skale, BFA Acting 2018, coordination assistant.

The development process for the play was made possible by the Vincentian Endowment Fund at DePaul University with support from The Theatre School, ShPIeL Performing Identity, and DePaul’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.

This is the last of three cultural events this spring at DePaul, co-sponsored by the university and the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest. The events were designed to engage with the broader community and illustrate the positive interreligious dialogue between Catholics and Jews.

The “Building Bridges of Faith” photo exhibition of papal visits to Israel from 1964-2014 is on display in DePaul’s Richardson Library, second floor, through June 10. The 44 historic images depict stirring scenes as well as quiet and intimate moments during visits to the Holy Land by some of the most well-traveled popes in history: Blessed Pope Paul VI, Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

The staged reading of “Imagining Heschel” is free and open to the public. The Theatre School building is located at 2350 N. Racine Ave. For additional information, please contact Alice Farrell in DePaul’s Office of Mission and Values, afarrell@depaul.edu or 312-362-8822.


Media Contact:
Carol Hughes