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The Problem With Fathers

    by Tom Casling


Comedy Play: 'The Problem With Fathers' by Tom Casling

This play is about the changing or shifting attitudes in the church and the differing outlook and approaches of two priests. It considers what motivated both priests to join the priesthood and deals with relationships and parish gossip fuelled by misinformation.

Mary Devlin’s character is key to the play and in a strange way links all the other characters. Mary is often the voice of reason; the broker, the peacemaker between the other characters.

What do you do with a young priest who takes his priesthood literally, who heals the sick, who makes people well again?  And who is Lesley, a friend of Fr Peters who turns up mysteriously and what is so important that she needs to discuss it immediately.

The play also considers different perceptions of priesthood and why miracles seem to be something of the past. Fr Dan has an even greater question…  If this young curate can help heal people and make them well again, should he share his own dilemma and ask for help, something he is not accustomed to doing. Dan realises however that speculation about his own health has become the subject of Parish gossip.  Is this just rumour or is this a ploy by the Bishop to remove him and replace him with a younger curate?

The play is essentially a comedy but includes some poignant moments and the final scene often moves the audience to tears. It deals with relationships, with the priesthood, and with service to the local community, whilst also looking at family ties and the bonds that unite people.


(4m, 5f, 1m/f)

Principals (3m, 4f).

  • Father Daniel O’Neil - 55-70, an aging but renowned Parish Priest
  • Mary Devlin - 55-70, the Parish Priest’s long-suffering housekeeper
  • Bishop John Harris – early 40s, serious, well spoken
  • Alice Docherty - Parish do-gooder and gossip
  • Rose Flannigan - Parish do-gooder and gossip
  • Father Peter Fisher - early 30s, the new Curate
  • Lesley - early 30s, was previously Peter’s girl friend

Support (1m, 1f, 1m/f)

  • Doctor - 45ish (m, could double with Police Officer)
  • Police Officer (m/f, could double with Nurse)
  • Nurse (f, could double with Police Officer)

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