Amanda Skofstad | August 24, 2017
The University of Notre Dame will premiere “Sorin: A Notre Dame Story,” a one-person play about the life and work of the University’s founder, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., on Aug. 30 (Wed.) at 6:42 p.m. in the Patricia George Decio Theatre of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The performance is free and open to the public.
This production celebrates the 175th anniversary of the University through the collaborative creative work of four notable Notre Dame alumni: director Patrick Vassel, class of 2007; playwright Christina Telesca Gorman, class of 1991; performer Matthew Goodrich, class of 2009; and projection designer Ryan Belock, class of 2011.
Vassel, currently the associate and supervising director of Broadway’s smash hit “Hamilton” in Chicago and Los Angeles, hopes the play will delight and surprise both the Notre Dame family and a much broader audience.
“There was no shortage of stories about Sorin — humor, drama, joy — all the things you want for a great play. It was already there, plus stories about his life that few really knew about until now,” said Vassel. “Our goal from the beginning was to produce a play that is a fantastic evening of theater for everyone. We would be shortchanging Fr. Sorin and his legacy if it were anything less.
“The questions at the heart of the play are still so close to the heart of Notre Dame, like ‘What do you seek to build? How do you seek to serve? What is your legacy?’ There are so many lessons can we take from Sorin for our own lives and work.”
“I was most surprised by how much about Father Edward Sorin I didn’t know. Before I started work on this project, ‘Sorin’ was the name of the University’s founder, the statue on the quad and the dorm with the turrets,” Gorman said. “But now I see him as the young man he was when he voyaged from France to the United States. He did not even speak English when he arrived! I hope the play takes the audience on a journey like mine: from admiring ‘Father Sorin’ to knowing ‘Edward.’”A deep dive into Sorin’s life and work turned up some surprises, according to playwright Gorman.
Projection designer Belock said the creative team’s choice to use video projection walls illustrates not only Sorin’s geographical journey, but also the journey of his mind, heart and spirit. In this way, the audience bears witness to the story of Notre Dame through Sorin’s eyes and the projections act as another character on stage revealing his thoughts, visions and dreams.
Lou Nanni, vice president for university relations, said, “Four passionate and exceptionally talented alumni have collaborated to tell the story of Sorin and the origins of Notre Dame in a most unique and compelling way. It is storytelling at its best.”