Marquette alumna remembers young Dorothy Day.
Acacia Theatre presents “This Other Love,” a play fusing events from the life of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. “This Other Love” remembers Day as a common-law wife expecting her first child in a cottage on the beach of Staten Island. A surprise visit from Peter Maurin, eccentric activist and future co-founder, revives Day’s passion to work with the poor. Her struggle to take heart, overcome objections and follow God’s call is the focus of Patty McCarty’s play, a world premiere at Acacia.
When Dorothy Day presented a lecture at Marquette in 1955, Patty McCarty, a Marquette University School of Journalism student at the time, interviewed her. McCarty had been influenced by Day, who founded The Catholic Worker newspaper and wrote the autobiography, The Long Loneliness. In 1994, McCarty wrote the play as part of a thesis project. In selecting Dorothy Day as a subject, she chose to focus on a counter-cultural figure of great power and influence for 20th century American Catholics and for people touched by poverty.
McCarty said, “She made a great impression on me. When I was growing up, we were poor, and Dorothy Day was the first person I knew in favor of voluntary poverty, a ministerial vow of renouncing material possessions.”
When asked if Day was humble, McCarty chuckled, “Not really. Some people said she would favor anarchy if she could be the chief anarch.” Day’s legacy was a radical movement, aligned with the Gospels and relevant to the social issues of the time. Day focused on transforming society and individuals.
The two-act play, set in a beach house in August 1927, finds Dorothy struggling with her growing spirituality, which places her at odds with her common-law husband, Forster Batterham, an anarchist. Peter Maurin, the peasant visionary with whom she later founded the Catholic Worker movement, enters the scene. Both men have plans for Dorothy and she fights to find her way.
McCarty sent the play to Acacia Theatre in 1994. While Acacia Theatre offices were relocating last year, the play was discovered. “There was no email – just two phone numbers on the script. Thank goodness she didn’t move,” recalled Janet Bouman Peterson, director of the production.
McCarty’s journalism career led her to co-found Community Now, the first inter-faith community newspaper in the nation. Later, she became editor of The American Nurse, the newspaper of the American Nurses Association, and still later, copy editor for The National Catholic Reporter. From 1990 to 1994, she studied playwriting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The performances will be given in Concordia University Wisconsin’s Todd Wehr Auditorium, 12800 North Lake Shore Drive in Mequon, Wis.
Fri., July 14th at 7:30 PM; Sat., July 15th at 7:30 PM; Sun., July 16th at 3 PM; Thurs., July 20th at 7:30 PM; Fri., July 21st at 7:30 PM; Sat., July 22nd at 4 PM; Sun., July 23rd at 3 PM.
Single Ticket Information
The single ticket prices for the season are $16 for adults, and $13 for seniors, full-time students, and full-time clergy. More information is available by calling (414) 744-5995 or visiting www.acaciatheatre.com.