The Search for Xavier

The Search for Xavier

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An insider piece: set in a friary in Dublin, Ireland, in the late 60's. A play centred on friars living in community - in poverty, chastity and obedience - in the immediate aftermath of Vatican Two but before the effects of that Council have really begun to take effect... Inside the cloister, behind closed doors. The status quo is shaken when one of the brethren disappears overnight; a young priest goes AWL... Worry... speculation... finally, consternation: the search for Xavier ends when it is established beyond doubt that he is in London and co-habiting with a female... A search that gives rise, in turn, to a searching of hearts... Why the 60's? A modern audience will be able to look back/look into the Church as it was at that time; the strict regime of "the old days" had only just begun to give way to the changes and uncertainties resulting from Vatican Two; the old regime of "black is black - white, white" was slowly, inexorably, being eroded; the element of fear - correction, reprimand, punishment, transfer - loomed large in the clerical psyche; the shock waves caused by the defection of Charles Davis from the priesthood and the diocese of Westminster had only just begun to reverberate around the universal Church; the old certainties had begun to give way to the new uncertainties; when the term, paedophile, was far from common coinage; when the debate on clerical celibacy/married clergy was still in its infancy; when the aristocratic Pope Pius XII was still a vivid memory in the minds of the faithful; when the clerics and religious who lived at that time could not have foreseen the scandals that would rock the Church of the 90's and subsequent decades... Briefly, a modern audience will be able to look back at the Church of the 60's - a Church that no longer exists to any great extent - an era that formed their forebears; view it objectively and with a certain curiosity. Change, then, is the operative word. Church of change... of friction, dispute, challenge, doubt, uncertainty, the old absolutes gone for ever. There are several orders of friars/male mendicants in the Church - Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians, Carmelites etc. Each with its own insignia, rule. The Latin of the liturgy - Mass, Divine Office - is contrasted betimes with the music, laughter and bonhomie of a community at recreation. The song - Mary Anne - is a piece of nostalgia that was well known among the friars at that time. The chorus rouses them to join in... at the centre and again at the end... rising to crescendo... before giving way to moriendo...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 202 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 12.95mm | 362.87g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 150857751X
  • 9781508577515
  • 2,543,152

About Sean Walsh

I've worked and lived in communications all my life: journalist, subeditor, editor, actor, director, producer, preacher - here in Ireland and abroad. I fell in love with Hiberno-English a long time ago - English as it is spoken and written in my country - and have been in love with it ever since. Interests: Friendship - when it is not possessive, controlling... Quiet. Silence - a positive value completely overlooked by many today... Trying, day in day out, not to spill any more milk... and to stop crying over milk already spilt. Not suffering fools gladly... Analysing Casablanca, frame for frame, line by line... Publications: My scripts have been broadcast on RTE, Radio One, BBC 4 and, in translation, on European networks; televised on RTE One, BBC One and Channel 4; staged at the Peacock by the Abbey National Theatre, at the Project, the Eblana, the Liverpool Playhouse and on the London Fringe... Credits include The Night of the Rouser. Earwig. The Dreamers. Fugitive. Veil. Penny for Your Travels. Far Side of the Moon. Three for Calvary. Jenny One, Two, Three... The Circus. Centre Circle. Where Do We Go from Here, My Lovely? Pilate Under Pressure. Conclave. Assault on a Citadel. I've conducted many workshops on Creative/Script Writing in Dublin and at various centres around Ireland. Favourite authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul. Belloc. GKC. A D Sertillanges. John Henry Newman. Waugh. Greene. Hemingway. O'Neill. Hans Kung. Likes: Good conversation. The company of my fellow searchers. Dislikes: Arrogant, self-opinionated prigs... Controlling, bullying clerics... Favourite Quotes: "I passionately hate the idea of being with it. I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time." (Orson Welles (1915 - 1985)) "Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position." - Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Films I cherish: Ben Hur. A Man for all Seasons. Jesus of Montreal. Of Gods and Men. The Player. My favourite format? Radio Drama. By far. At its very best the listener is a fly-on-the-wall: eavesdropping, over-hearing, listening in, privy to the most intimate, soul-searching monologue, revealing dialogue... I worked in RTE's Drama Department for some 16 years in the '70's, '80's - directing, producing, scripting, editing, ending my tenure there as Head of Drama.
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