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LOLEK: Exclusive Presentation and Roundtable

April 10 - April 12

The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in partnership with Open Window Theatre bring to audiences a virtual stage production of Jeremy Stanbary’s LOLEK, a story of resilience and hope based on the life of young Karol Wojtyla, the man better known to the world as Pope John Paul II. The play captures a defining chapter in the life of this twentieth-century giant and Catholic saint during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The multi-dimensionality of the young Karol Wojtyla, as actor, poet, and friend, is on full display as he seeks to chart a more personal journey of the soul and a possible vocation to the priesthood at a time when doing so was forbidden in occupied Poland. Playwright, co-director, and producer Jeremy Stanbary plays Lolek and is joined by Sarah Stanbary as Lolek’s esteemed friend Halene and Jeromy Darling who plays five distinct characters in the play.

“It’s a story of resilient faith and hope in the midst of crushing adversity, hardship and uncertainty – a story that resonates with people of all backgrounds,” explains playwright, producer, and lead actor Jeremy Stanbary.

The play explores this transformative time in the future pontiff’s life and on the world stage, taking audience into the competing priorities of his heart and the heroic circumstances that would eventually lead Karol Wojtyla – Lolek as he was known to friends – to embrace a life of service to humanity and God as a priest. The juxtaposition of themes comes into sharp relief through the contemporary undertones of the piece, the brilliant versatility of the performers, and the creative choice to use the camera as a presence on the stage. The virtual recording of this play is a groundbreaking and highly immersive shot in 4k with the cameraman on stage with the actors. The camera was choreographed into the play in order to provide a unique and more intimate theatrical experience for our virtual audiences.

Viewers may access the film at https://www.stellartickets.com/o/open-window-theatre/events/lolek-virtual-performance-in-partnership-with-the-sheen-center

Proceeds will benefit both the Open Window Theatre as well as The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, who share the mission of elevating hearts and minds through art, culture, and dialogue.

This Sunday, which is Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day which was introduced to the Catholic liturgical calendar by Pope John Paul II, David DiCertoInterim Executive Director hosted a roundtable discussion with the playwright and performers of Lolek at 7 pm EST April 11 at Facebook Page @SheenCenter and Youtube @ SheenTalks.



Jeremy Stanbary as Lolek

Sarah Stanbary

Jeromy Darling


Matthew Berdahl


Jason Wipf


Writer & Director – Jeremy Stanbary

Co-Director – Stephen O’Toole

Stage Manager – Katy Humnick

Set, Costumes & Props – Nate Farley

Sound Design – Jeremy Stanbary & Jason Wipf

Lighting Design – Grant Ashling

Projections – Jeremy Stanbary & Jason Wipf

Video Consultants – Rich Walling (W2Films) & Jason Wipf

Polish Dialect Consultant – Gosia Bueltel


Brontide Labs


Original underscore music by Justin Stroh

“The Cry of the Poor” lyrical arrangement and melody by John Michael Talbot (OCP Publications)

All other music and sound effects have been licensed for use in the show

The Sheen Center’s talkbacks are available for viewing on The Sheen Center’s Youtube Channel @SheenCenter and are broadcast live on our Facebook Page @SheenCenter. Follow us on both platforms to stay up to date on the most recent events. 

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