Inspirational drama on Maximilian Kolbe to come to archdiocese
By Nissa LaPoint
The one-man play about the heroic life of St. Maximilian Kolbe killed in a Nazi concentration camp will make a return to Colorado next month.
The live drama “Maximilian: Saint of Auschwitz” by the Washington-based St. Luke Productions will be performed at parishes and at Fort Carson army base in a modernized production. The play will use live footage, an orchestral soundtrack and dynamic acting to appeal to both youths and adult audiences. It first premiered in Denver in 1993.
“It has an intimate history with Denver because its premier was at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Denver for World Youth Day,” said Leonardo Defilippis, founder and president of St. Luke Productions.
An actor for 36 years, Defilippis will portray St. Maximilian to deliver a message he said is relevant to the battle to protect religious freedom.
“It’s going to really inspire people during these dark times,” Defilippis said. “Max gives you the solution. He gives you the absolute answer with what to do and how to do it.”
The drama illustrates the life of the saint, a courageous Polish priest who stood up to the evil forces of Nazism while imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. Defilippis will give a historical history of the saint’s life and how he was forced into slave labor, tortured and then volunteered to die by starvation in place of a married man with children.
Defilippis said he’s researched the saint with scholars and authorities. He’s practiced the role many times, and said it’s the first play about the saint performed in English.
Maximilian: St. of Auschwitz
Drama produced by St. Luke Productions
7 p.m. Oct. 15, St. Mary Parish, Aspen; 970-925-7339
7 p.m. Oct. 16, St. Thomas More Parish, Centennial; 303-770-0531 ext. 2
7 p.m. Oct. 17, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Fort Collins; 970-226-6629
7 p.m. Oct. 18, Queen of Peace Parish, Aurora; 303-364-1056
Rating: suitable for ages 10 and up
Cost: free-will offering
For more information: visit www.stmaxdrama.com and watch the movie trailer.
To give viewers a full understanding, he will change characters during the play.
“I go around the screen and come back,” Defilippis said about how he artfully switches costumes. “I act differently, walk differently and use a different voice. For an artist it’s extremely challenging.”
He will also play a Nazi soldier and the devil. In these roles, he will touch on the many subjects that Catholics and non-Catholics alike face today: government power, morality, corruption, freedom of religion and attacks on the Church.
Defilippis said he founded the nonprofit production company to “make Christ seen and heard.”
“We’re doing it in an artistic way to compete in the marketplace as a legitimate play,” he said.
The dramas give audiences a chance to encounter a saint face-to-face and spark a transformation, he said.
Defilippis is best known for directing and starring in the film “Thérèse,” which played for a year in theaters. For 31 years he’s produced other one-man and one-woman plays on the lives of the saints and the Gospels.
The production on St. Maximilian is 90-minutes and is appropriate for audiences ages 10 and up.
Defilippis encourages families, youths and people of all faiths to attend.
“It will give them hope and give them an example of real courage,” he said.