Storyteller Jay O'Callahan - Home Page

Forged in the Stars

In honor of NASA's 50th anniversary Jay O'Callahan, was commissioned by NASA to create a story. O'Callahan was given the challenge to tell what NASA is, what it has accomplished, and why it's important in our culture and time. His work is the result of almost two years of research, including interviews with scientists, astronauts, engineers and many other NASA employees. Can science and exploration be brought to life? Jay's passionate Forged in the Stars, makes NASA and its mission compelling to us all.

 

Jay has performed Forged in the Stars to wide acclaim at space across the country, at Harvard University, MIT, the International Astronautical Congress in Cape Town, South Africa and at the Science Teller Conference in Dunedin, New Zealand.

 

Click here to read more about the story and to listen to or view an excerpt.

 

"Indelible.”

-The Boston Globe

 

"Jay's story about NASA was enthralling. I was moved and inspired by the way Jay put the truth of what we do on vibrant display through his eloquent imagery.  Our space exploration challenges, passions, shortcomings, and triumphs were woven through Jay's story, and he captured the soaring human spirit of our endeavors beautifully."

-Michael, Eastwood, JPL Aviris Team Leader, Observational Systems Division

 

The Labryinth of Uncle Mark

Uncle Mark was a failure and a disgrace to the family. He was always written off with a phrase or two. No one ever knew why he walked out of his law office. It was the beginning of his long fall. In a sense, he almost stepped out of the human race. "The Labyrinth of Uncle Mark" explores the possible reasons for his fall and attempts to welcome a brave man back into the family.

 

The story also explores the internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II.

 

“Jay O'Callahan has written and performs a solo theatrical miracle. It is as if he plumbed the emotional DNA of our family dynamics and presents it to us in a singularly gorgeous package. It could be Hamlet re-born into a 20th century Irish American family."

-Samm Carleton, Choreographer

 

"What you achieved was the telling of a life, your uncle Mark's and his family's. It is a complex and rich life that was tragic. Who can do that? It is a beautiful piece because it is made believable through the striking simplicity of your conveying to us the complexity of Mark's life; any life. Thank you."

-Rob Perkins, Author, International Filmmaker, BBC, PBS

 

Father Joe

FatherJoeTrumanThe true story of a man whose courage saved the USS Franklin from sinking after being bombed off the coast of Japan, on March 19th, 1945. A story whose texture is as complex as jazz. It's a story that plays with time and the listener's imagination. A riveting and poignant story of the cost of a hero's journey.

 

FatherJoeLastRites

"Jay O'Callahan has drawn an unforgettable portrait."

-AudioFile

 

"Not only takes wings, but soars."

- the Boston Globe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Home to Someplace New:
The Pill Hill Stories

Three stories of a boy growing up in a neighborhood near Boston after World War II. In a touching way, the stories "Glasses," "Chickie," and "Politics," explore friendship, prejudice and class differences. They have been performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, The National Fine Arts Complex in London, on National Public Radio, and at festivals and theatres throughout the United States. They are among the most popular of Jay O'Callahan's performance pieces.

 

"Something close to a revelation."

-The Boston Globe

 

"An Undoubted Triumph. . . an utterly mesmerizing artist with an unforgettable presence. . . "

-Irish Literary Supplement

 

Jay O'Callahan, Abbey Theatre, Dublin

Jay O'Callahan,
Abbey Theatre, Dublin

 

The Dance

The wildy humorous and deeply moving story of a boy discovering his father is a man, not a god. A delightful and electric portrayal of the cracked egg of adolescence.

 

"O'Callahan amazingly captures the wistful, lonely, heightened reality of a teenage boy. Every experience is indelible. Every emotion is over-wrought. Every sentence spoken will echo within him forever. He aches with the love that surrounds him, and voraciously hungers for more. . . 'The Dance' has an emotional center that O'Callahan pierces like a bull'seye."
-Alexander Stevens, Drama Critic

 

"Not so much a story as a play in two acts. . . an engrossing, entertaining evening of theatre."

-The Boston Globe

 

"Astounding..."

-North Shore Sunday Best Bets

 

At the cutting edge of . . . an art form"

-Christian Science Monitor

 

 

Village Heroes:
The Herring Shed, Fools Bells and Edna Robinson

Stories of extraordinary moments in ordinary lives. The main stories are dramas of two women, one working in a herring shed, the other a clerk in a general store, who heroically deal with a single moment that changes their lives. In the story of "The Herring Shed" 14 year old Maggie Thomas' life is changed when the rector comes into the herring shed with a telegram announcing the death of her brother at Dunkirk during World War II. Edna Robinson, a beautiful and very proper clerk in a New England general store, falls in love with a hobo.

 

"...you leave 'Village Heroes' with images seared on the brain. If you concentrate hard enough, the stories can be intensely optical experiences."

-The Boston Globe

 

"...characters as finely etched as those in a novel, as palpable as those in a play,"

-The Christian Science Monitor

 

"So many characters fill the stage in 'Village Heroes' that it comes as a shock when you notice just one man, inventing a planet of people to rival that of Charles Dickens."

-The Seattle Herald

 

Jay O'Callahan  at Stage West Theatre

Jay O'Callahan
at Stage West Theatre

 

The Spirit of the Great Auk

A stirring drama inspired by the real-life odyssey of Dick Wheeler's four month 1,500 mile kayak journey from Newfoundland to Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts. Wheeler was retracing the journey of the now-extinct Great Auk bird. Newfoundland fishermen warned Dick Wheeler that the fish in the Grand Banks were disappearing. In Jay's story, those fishermen become a modern Greek chorus warning us that the fish are disappearing from the sea.

 

"..the most moving performance I have every heard about the sea."

-Jerry Schubel, Director New England Aquarium

 

"A major experience."

-New Zealand's Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune

 

"(Jay O'Callahan) continues to delight and move thousands of listeners each year."

-Time Magazine

 

Links to information about Dick Wheeler: Time.com | GulfOfMaine.com

 

Jay O'Callahan at  the New England Aquarium

Jay O'Callahan at
the New England Aquarium

 

The Herring Shed

Jay's haunting dramatization of World War II's effect on residents of a small Nova Scotia fishing village.

 

"Genius"

-Time Magazine

 

"He had me so in his power I neglected to take a single note."

-Washington Post

 

Pouring the Sun

pouring the sunThis is a story of Ludvika Moskal Waldony who came to this country in 1907 when she was eighteen. She came alone without friends, family or education. Ludvika was a strong, imaginative woman who created a life for herself in the steel town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The story explores the struggles of a working class family in a steel city that has no union. It's the story of the building of America.

 

"For generations, the heart of Bethlehem, PA. was steel. When the blue flame went out at the last steel factory five years ago, the town wanted to commemorate its steelworkers by leaving behind more than just factory silhouettes. So they brought storyteller Jay O'Callahan to town."
-Christian Science Monitor

 

". . . a story of work and home and love and loss. . . a rare wine to be savored."

-The Express-Times

 

"[Pouring the Sun] is a visit with the keepers of the blue flame across the generations - the steelworkers of Bethlehem, Pa., who 'poured the sun...'"

-America@work

 

“A consummate professional . . .”

-The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY

 

“A Night of Greatness.”

-The Record, Troy, NY

 

“Theater at its best.”

-The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY

 

"A Triumph."

-Buffalo News

 

 

Pill Hill Quartet

JayJay O'Callahan grew up in a neighborhood called Pill Hill because so many doctors lived there. The magical house and grounds and the dramas of his lively neighbors inspired these colorful stories about Norwegians in the attic, a sausage dog who spoke only Portuguese, salmon in the bathtub and the delicious mystery of x.

 

"I was overcome with contagious laughter and moved to tears at the fun and humanness of these Pill Hill neighborhood stories wonderfully told here."

-Jack Langstaff, founder of Revels.

 

"Jay O'Callahan paints an extraordinary picture of life on Pill Hill. These stories are like listening to wonderful theater on the radio, with Jay portraying all the characters."

-Dick Pleasants, WGBH/WUMB

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