Friday, December 18, 2009

Jesuit Without A Right Forearm

Father Richard J. Curry, S.J., is no stranger to the world of acting. The 66-year-old Jesuit, who was born without a right forearm, earned a PhD in theater from New York University, and he’s even played a psychiatrist on the television detective series “Monk.” But he is perhaps best known as the founder and artistic director of the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, a 32-year-old nonprofit theater arts training institution for persons with physical disabilities, currently based in New York City and Belfast, Maine. Six years ago, Curry reached out to disabled combat veterans, especially amputees, and began the Writers’ Program for Wounded Warriors, holding workshops for soldiers to tell their stories in dramatic monologues and in the process to begin to heal the psychological, emotional, and spiritual wounds of war. “A dramatic monologue is not just journalism,” says Curry, “not just retelling their story. In fact, it is telling their story for a very specific purpose, a very specific response that they want from the particular audience.” It is an act of the imagination, he explains, and feeling the audience’s response, says Curry, can be a source of great healing. “It opens up a validation that probably would not have been there before,” he explains. The wounded warrior realizes that he is “part of a larger universe of love,” says Curry, “and once you get the wounded warrior in touch with that, then you can see that the healing can begin.”

Link (here) to the full piece at PBS

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