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I am delighted to have another opportunity to blog on GCTC's website. After our production moved into the studio this past Sunday, I came to the realization that both 9th Hour's Agnes of God and GCTC's Fly Me To The Moon feature all female casts, and are opening on the same night, this Thursday, in the same building. How cool is that? And how rare even?
This past Saturday night, we performed a preview of Agnes of God out-of-town at The Gathering House in Chesterville to a warm and appreciative audience, followed by a talk-back discussion with the director and cast on some of the themes brought up by the play. With tables and chairs set up around the playing space, and a fair trade coffee shop right there in the building, it was a wonderful treat for the audience to enjoy a cup of warm coffee and desert, and to make themselves comfortable at a table close up to the action. The cast and crew as well as myself really enjoyed the experience as well, giving us a bit of a sense of what to look forward to this coming week with an audience.
I'd like to introduce the artistic team and cast that has made Agnes of God possible. The play, brilliantly written by Amercian playwright JOHN PIELMEIER, is directed by MARC-ANDRÉ CHARRON of Montreal's Satellite Theatre, with original music by local composer STEVEN LAFOND, featuring the beautiful singing voice and talented acting of GABRIELLE LAZAROVITZ as Agnes, JANET RICE as Mother Superior, ANNA LEWIS as Doctor Livingstone, and MARTAIN PEARSON performing live on cello. The production is stage managed by RACHEL-DAWN WALLACE, with production design by PATTI VOPNI, and lighting design by JOHN SOLMAN. To find out more about the artistic team and cast, visit 9th Hour's Facebook wall for full bios: http://www.facebook.com/pages/9th-Hour-Theatre-Company/122860751082826?sk=wall
In closing, I want to draw attention to both the authour's preface, and our director's note in the programme to hopefully wet your appetite for what to expect when seeing Agnes of God.
“’…why do you worry? What good would it do you if I told you she is indeed a saint? I cannot make saints, nor can the Pope. We can only recognize saints when the plainest evidence shows them to be saintly. If you think her a saint, she is a saint to you. What more do you ask? That is what we call the reality of the soul; you are foolish to demand the agreement of the world as well…’ “’But it is the miracles that concern me. What you say takes no account of the miracles.’ “’Oh, miracles! They happen everywhere. They are conditional… Miracles are things that people cannot explain… Miracles depend much on time, and place, and what we know and do not know… Life is too great a miracle for us to make so much fuss about petty little reversals of what we pompously assume to be the natural order… Who is she? That is what you must discover… and you must find your answer in psychological truth, not in objective truth… And while you are searching, get on with your own life and accept the possibility that it may be purchased at the price of hers and that this may be God’s plan for you and her.’” ~ROBERTSON DAVIES, Fifth Business
Blood, water and ashes. We all recognize cycles in nature: the elements of life, death, rebirth; whether they are or are not, in our perception, the work of God; cycles we expect to see happening over and over again; cycles in which we have faith. Agnes of God first brought numerous questions: Is there a more outlandish concept than faith to non believers? Is there a clearer one for believers? Is there a more dangerous one than two faiths trying to win over the other? At the heart of these questions lays a simple human need to reach out to the unknown; to find some sort of footing to help calm the vertigo that catches our throat when we look out at the stars and feel we can’t name our relationship to them; the invisible cords linking us to each other, like whispered confessions. Some will call it the Voice of God. Others will call it Nature’s Way. I can’t name it for sure, but the melody sure is beautiful to my ears. As Mother Ruth’s Catholic faith and Dr. Livingstone’s faith in science clashed at many moments, it was the sections where they actually agreed, where they were simple women, simple people that kept screaming out to me as the core of the play. In a world that is getting smaller and smaller, how can we not allow for other perspectives than our own? How can we let beliefs co-exist? Here, Agnes is their victim, a child of divorced parents each tugging at her arms. Nothing is more voracious than a mother’s love.
Please visit our website at www.9th-hour.ca to read more about the show and to see all that we've accomplished this past season, from Crime and Punishment to The Secret Garden to My Name Is Asher Lev.
I really hope to meet some more Ottawa theatre lovers and supporters at the show!
9th Hour Theatre Company