About Gibbons, For Gibbons, By Gibbons: a Preview of Labor of Love

About Gibbons, For Gibbons, By Gibbons: a Preview of Labor of Love

Experience an original play that dives deep into the story of the orphanage that came before us.

Several students have performed in Gibbons plays, but how many have ever written a Gibbons play? Or written a Gibbons play about Gibbons?  Five students – three seniors and two juniors – have done just that.

Poster made by Nik Griffin.

This May, the Gibbons Drama program is presenting its production of Labor of Love, an original play written by the students of Drama III/IV about the development of Cardinal Gibbons from the Nazareth Orphanage to the school it is today. Members of the Drama Club will be performing this documentary-style play in the Studio Theater on Friday, May 3 at 4:30 p.m. A reception will be held afterward from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tickets are free and seats are first come, first serve.

Labor of Love tells the history of Nazareth Orphanage – and how foundational its history was to the establishment of Cardinal Gibbons. It highlights parallels between the orphans and students, as well as the similarities between the nuns and educators. Sister Mary Julia Godwin, a nun who spent many years working at Nazareth, compiled first-hand accounts from Nazareth orphans, nuns, and priests in a binder with stories, news clippings, and pictures. Their history stretches all the way back to 1901, when the land was bought by Father Price.

Elainia Sanders (Class of 2024), Nik Griffin (Class of 2024), Jaden Miller (Class of 2024), Sarah Veach (Class of 2025), and Carson Reeves (Class of 2025) each wrote a scene and formulated a script together based on these accounts. They focused on creating the show beat by beat, connecting the moments and emotions from the past to those in the present. This process has been extremely rewarding for these students, and they hope to apply this creativity to future projects.

“It isn’t just a show about our history, but about our Gibbons Family,” said Veach. “I’m so proud to be a part of this experience.”

In February, the class was blessed with the opportunity to have lunch with and personally interview some of these past Nazareth orphans, such as Frank Prevo and Mary Alice, to receive more detailed information about their experiences at the orphanage and hear their untold anecdotes.

“Meeting Frank and Mary was such a fun and enlightening experience,” said Veach. “I loved hearing all about their lives and their fun little stories. Watching them bicker like siblings and laugh about old times made me realize they truly were a family.”

Ms. Sartori (left) and Mary Alice (right) having lunch. (Elainia Sanders)

Ms. Emily Sartori, the Drama III/IV instructor, is organizing and producing Labor of Love – the direction is being handled by her students. Her most recent Gibbons production was Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at Certain School of Magic and Magic, which ran this February. Ms. Sartori is not a stranger to documentary-style productions – back in the fall of 2020, she co-directed The Laramie Project, a docudrama play composed of accounts from locals in Laramie, Wyoming who were asked about the murder of a boy in their town. Labor of Love – this uplifting, nostalgic story about the fond memories and unknown history of Nazareth Orphanage – is in good hands. 

The Drama Club invites and encourages Gibbons students and staff to learn more about the stories of the people who, although not technically Gibbons alumni, were the first members of our school’s family. 

“I would hope for a pretty warm response [from the Gibbons students] because it’s such a passionate show with a lot of heart,” said Griffin. “They’re in it, they’re part of it. I think if they came and saw themselves being portrayed along with the orphans, it could give them a new viewpoint of Gibbons.”

Some of these alums will be attending the show, and the students of Drama III/IV are thrilled for them to see their story come to life.

“We have such respect and appreciation for the traditions and history that Gibbons has developed over the years,” said Miller, “And we want to give thanks to the people that helped create it.”

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About the Contributor
Noe Dwight
Noe Dwight, Managing Editor
Hi, my name is Noe Dwight! I am a Senior writing and reporting for the Gibbons Globe. Here at CGHS, I am most involved in Drama Leadership Team, Gibbons Leadership Institute, and Peer-to-Peer Mentorship. Most days, you can find me singing and dancing in the theater or writing and reading in the library!