Shakespeare and Me

3rd Annual Shakespeare Celebration

Saturday, April 22, 9:30 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.

Save the date for the 3rd Annual Shakespeare Celebration, a full day of talks and performances, featuring Gary Bouchard of Saint Anselm CollegeKevin O'Brienand Theater of the WordDr. Aaron Urbanczyk and Joseph Pearce of Aquinas College, and Santiago Sosa of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival.
The drama departments of Saint Cecilia Academy and Father Ryan High School will also be staging scenes from Shakespeare's most well-known plays.

There is a suggested donation of $15 per person for those attending the event.

Schedule

9:30 – Registration
10:00 – Aaron Urbanczyk: “Statecraft, Christendom, and Machiavelli: Shakespeare on Political Theater”
11:00 – Father Ryan High School: “The Riddle of the Caskets in The Merchant of Venice
11:20 – Santiago Sosa of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival: “Seeking Shakespeare: A Dramatic Presentation”
12:15 – Lunch
1:00 – Presentation of the Shakespeare High School Essay Award & Reading of Winning Essay
1:20 – Gary Bouchard: “Shakespeare & the Jesuit Martyr”
2:20 – Saint Cecilia’s Academy: “Love and Marriage in Romeo and Juliet
2:40 – Joseph Pearce, Kevin O’Brien & Theatre of the Word: “The Christianity of The Merchant of Venice
3:40 – Closing Comments
4:00 – Travelers’ Mass in St. Jude Chapel at Aquinas College

Dr. Gary Bouchard
of Saint Anshelm College
Joseph Pearce
Kevin O'Brien & Theater of the Word, Inc.
Dr. Aaron Urbanczyk
Santiago Sosa of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Hope to see you there!

Rave Reviews


  • "I cannot tell you what a difference your class has made this semester for [my daughter]. She came downstairs the other day and said, 'I'm so sad that Mr. O'Brien's class is over.'  This semester I watched some of your classes with [my daughter] because she'd say, 'Mom, you're going to love this!  Pull up a chair!' You are an outstanding teacher ... We are so grateful for your impact on my daughter's life," 



  • "We love Mr. O'Brien!! Our daughter is really enjoying his class this semester. Thank you so much!" 


  • You are so very real and down to earth, so spontaneous. I know you are a sinner like the rest of us, but you're not afraid to just be who you are. You are alive and that's what your students love. Of course you can throw in a great sense of humor and intelligence to boot. It seems you are not afraid of making a mistake or mis-step. Thank you for drawing all your friends more deeply into the mysteries of life. We can't help but think about the deeper things, the most important things in life...you lead us there



  • "I remember speech classes being very intimidating for the naturally quieter people in class, but my son has not felt intimidated at all. He really likes the class discussions and has had a lot of fun with the creativity of the writing prompts and assignments." 



  • "The teacher, Kevin O'Brien was great!!! A very special thanks to Mr. O'Brien. I hope that he will continue to teach this class so that all rest of my 7 kids may benefit from him. My son thoroughly enjoyed his class.  I really like his focus on the philosopher, Socrates as a great philosopher and orator. He made the class very fun by dressing in costume!! What a GREAT teacher!!" 



  • "The kids are very engaged, the teacher makes the material interesting and fun,  and the kids get to try out their skills during class. The plays chosen are giving a deep and thorough survey of the history of drama even though the kids may not realize that."



  • "Thank you so much for both your time and devotion. Madalyn really enjoyed the class and having you as a teacher. I found the class to be just the right amount of a challenge for her. This was her first live online class and since it went so well, we will definitely look to Homeschool Connections to see if there is a good fit for next year's schedule."



  • "I want to think you so much for being such a great teacher. You were my favorite teacher and your class was my favorite class. I can't wait to take another class with you this fall!  Thank you so much again you made literature my new favorite subject."



  • "Thank you sharing your insights into the world of mystery. Our daughter couldn't say enough about your class.  It was the topic of many conversations at the dinner table.  We really applaud your efforts and stories that were shared.  Thank you and God Bless."



  • "My daughter will definitely miss her drama class.  She loved Mr. O'Brien"


2016 - A Christmas Odyssey

My Speech students wanted to see clips from my son Colin's parody of 2001 - A Space Odyssey.

Here's the scene where I do the voice-over for the astronaut who brings the cooler of fruitcake.  It's a crucial role.



Chesterton, Shaw and Drama

By popular demand from my Drama students, here I am speaking on Chesterton and Shaw and Drama ...


Eric Voegelin "In Search of the Ground"

Some of my students in A World without God asked for an outline of my class presentation on Eric Voegelin's essay "In Search of the Ground".  Here it is ...





I. THE GROUND (Greek: αἴτιον) is the source of our being and our particularity (THE GROUND is GOD, viewed as a philosophical concept and not as a Person.)


There the quest of the ground has been formulated in two principal questions of metaphysics. The first question is, “Why is there something; why not nothing?” And the second is, “Why is that something as it is, and not different?”

II. Man’s nature is to seek this Ground, which is also the Final Cause, the Purpose, through an open dialogue of questioning and answering, pulled by God.  In fact, this is what Reason is.



In this questioning one keeps open one’s human condition and is not tempted to find cheap answers.  ... That is reason: openness toward the ground.

III. How do we go about being Open toward the Ground?  Through a basic TENSION between our lives and the “transcendent” - a reaching out in this imperfect and muddled life for something greater which is Beyond.  This TENSION is expressed by the words FAITH, HOPE and LOVE.  It is not settling comfortably on a dogmatic answer, even if the dogma expresses a truth; it is a continued tensional questing toward God, for the Dogmas (though true) are signposts or objectified expressions of a truth that is not, itself, a "thing" to be comfortably conceptualized and mentally appropriated, but a form of being, a relationship marked by desire and an uncertainty on man's part, overcome by trust.  That is what Faith is - a reaching out in hope with love (Eros).  Faith, Hope and Love are first grouped together hundreds of years before St. Paul.


Already Heraclitus knew three variants or nuances of the tension: love, hope, and faith.  

IV.  As the ear is for hearing and as the eye is for seeing, so the PSYCHE (soul) is for desiring God.  We are built for this.  In the same way we are built for seeing and hearing, so we are built for seeking God.  And the Psyche is the "organ" that enables this.


V.  This common goal of seeking God (the Ground) unites us in friendship and like-mindedness: homonoia.


... since every man participates in love of the transcendent Being and is aware of such a ground—Ground, Reason, or Nous—out of which he exists, every man can, by virtue of this noetic self, have love for other men. … “If I did not love other men because they also are an image of God, I would have no particular reason to love them because they are just horrible.” - Nietzsche

VI. But what happens to all of this in A WORLD WITHOUT GOD???


We still have of course, the quest of the ground; we want to know where things come from. But since God (in revelatory language) or transcendent divine Being (in philosophical language) is prohibited for agnostics, they must put their ground elsewhere. And now we can see, beginning about the middle of the eighteenth century, in the Enlightenment, a whole series of misplacements of the ground. The transcendent Ground is misplaced somewhere in an immanent hierarchy of being.

TRANSLATION: God and the Purpose of Life is no longer seen as being something that is Beyond us, but as something that we can make and manipulate in the here and now.  Voegelin calls this IDEOLOGY.  I call it UNREALITY.  If the Open Existence is a life lived seeking the Divine Ground of our Being, the Closed Existence is shutting ourselves off to the Ground: it is Spiritual Contraception (found among some Devout Catholics, I would say, as among all agnostics).  And this Closed Existence takes the form of IDEOLOGIES that assert the Final Cause (the Ground, the Purpose of life) as anything but transcendent; it is not beyond our reach: power is God, money is God, sex is God, tolerance is God, gender fluidity is God, etc.


VII. Aspects of Ideology ...

       1. IDEOLOGIES (worlds without God) are APOCALYPTIC.  They believe a better world will follow this one.

2. IDEOLOGIES are GNOSTIC.  Only the ideologue and his party know the recipe to produce this perfect world, which must be attained through a brutal rejection of this one; or through a meaningless use and abuse of this one: for this world and human nature itself are but the contemptible stuff that must be overcome to attain the Utopia.
3. IDEOLOGIES are IMMANENT: the apocalyptic heaven is man-made and of this world; not produced by grace and ultimately fully embodied in the world to come, but arbitrarily and forcefully produced by those in power.


IX. HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF against the Bad Thinkers, the Agnostics and the Ideologues?



E.V.: Oh, by reading the classics, of course. That’s the purpose of education—you must have the masters at your fingertips.

X.  And finally …


Nobody is obliged to participate in the crisis of his time. He can do something else. … No one is obliged to take part in the spiritual crisis of a society; on the contrary, everyone is obliged to avoid this folly and live his life in order. 

... And order is discerned in the Ground, the source and end of our existence.

A World without God - Final Project

Here's Clara's Final Project Video for my class A World Without God ...

Speech and Communications

Final Project Videos

My Middle School students in my Mastery of Mysteries class really did some great videos!

Here's a link to Noah's movie "A Missing Timepiece".

Here's Marie's movie "Trouble" ...




And here's a link to the trailer for Katie's story, "Adeline and the Sweet Clue".

And here's Abby, Isabella and Gabe's movie, "The Murder at Burns Estate" ...




What a fun class this was!!!  If you missed it, you can take it live from Homeschool Connections in the Spring of 2018!
Kevin O'Brien as J.R.R. Tolkien on the "Hobbit Hole" set for the television special Frodo's Journey.

Who am I?  Here are some clues ...
  • Author of two books, The Church of the Kevin (listed as one of the Best Books of 2010) and A Bad Actor's Guide to the Meaning of Life (to be published in 2017 by ACS Press and distributed by TAN Books).
  • Creator of Grunky (whatever that is).