in the W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre
By Robin Glendinning
Directed by Kent Paul
With Sean Gormley and Haskell King
It’s 1948 when Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty first visits the infamous Nazi Herbert Kappler in the Italian prison where Kappler is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. During World War II, the men were adversaries; Kappler was the head of the Gestapo in German-occupied Rome, and Monsignor O’Flaherty was using the cover of Vatican neutrality to shelter and arrange for the escape of thousands of Allied servicemen and Jewish civilians. Kappler placed a bounty on O’Flaherty’s head, but O’Flaherty evaded capture, earning the nickname “The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican.” When these two men meet after the war, profound questions of responsibility and redemption rattle the cages. Based on a true story, Kingfishers Catch Fire examines morality and personal culpability for actions taken during a devastating war.
This is the world premiere of Kingfishers Catch Fire, inspired by the true story of Herbert Kappler and Monsignor O’Flaherty. Kingfishers Catch Fire received a staged reading in 2016 as part of the Irish Rep Reading Series.