THE DAY THEY KIDNAPPED THE POPE
10th - 19th June, 2015 (Summer Tour)
2015 Phoebe Rees Awards
At the end of his triumphal tour of New York, Pope Albert is kidnapped by Sam, a Brooklyn taxi driver. The play opens as Sam arrives home with his hostage and we witness each member of the family’s surprised reaction to their guest, who strangely seems quite unperturbed. Sam has demanded a ransom - for twenty-four hours there will be no killing in the world - and the Pope’s kidnapping has become an international concern.
Born in Budapest in 1924, João Bethencourt moved to Brazil with his family at the age of ten.
He was a renowned playwright and director, and a prolific linguist. Hungarian was his mother tongue ("the only language the devil respects") but João Bethencourt became fluent in Portuguese, French, English, German, Spanish and Italian, in addition to having a good knowledge of many other European languages.
He translated many foreign texts in addition to his own works, one of which was 'O Dia em que Raptaram o Papa' (The Day They Kidnapped the Pope). This startling comedy was a smash hit in Europe with major productions in Germany, France, Spain and Holland. When it was presented in Rome, the Vatican newspaper gave it a rave review.
“The play is beautifully constructed, the characters are larger than life and totally credible and the dialogue is constantly funny. The whole play has a marvellously heartwarming universality without a word of preaching, a total lack of pretentiousness. It has more to say about humanity and life than any message play.”