FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
This January, I am very pleased to be able to present our 10th overall production, and the first original work in 9th Hour’s history, the Canadian and world premiere of Grain of Salt, created by Ottawa playwright, director, and actor, Megan Piercey Monafu.
Back in the spring of 2012, shortly after working on Crime and Punishment together, Megan shared her plans to embark on a series of interviews with people of various denominational and/or no church affiliation, those identifying as Christians, and those who do not, with the purpose of hearing their stories, experiences, and opinions on faith, religion, church, and the belief in God, and whether or not the church has anything to apologize for, or whether an apology is even useful. Some of the stories and experiences are funny, some are filled with joy and hope, some are profoundly hurtful, and still others are inspiring and bordering the transcendent. The idea for these interviews quickly adopted the name of the “We’re Sorry” Theatre Project.
Over a year later, after these diverse interviews were compiled and sorted through, we began to workshop the script with actors in the summer of 2013, which then led to the recruitment of director Kelly Rigole and auditions in the fall for a premiere run of performances of the newly formed piece in January of 2014. In partnership with Faith and Arts Ottawa, the show is being presented in various Ottawa venues, bars, and coffee shops, allowing for a relaxed and casual environment, with the option to enjoy a drink or some food while being entertained and immersed in stimulating content, and maybe even participating in a discussion afterwards. The subject matter is very relevant for those who are in the church, those who used to be, those who have criticisms of the church, those who have been hurt by the church, and those who are curious or interested in the church and all it’s beauty and troubles, not to mention those who enjoy creative or verbatim theatre.
The piece is very physical and energetic, imaginative, funny, difficult to hear at times, and challenging to one’s assumptions and beliefs, addressing on different levels the intersection of faith and sexuality, abortion, church community, prayer, science, and many more topics. What makes the piece supremely captivating and not something one would want to miss is that it is verbatim, in that the script is real, the text is from real words taken from the interviews, and the stories and opinions expressed are not fictional but completely true, all skillfully and elegantly woven together by Megan to create beautiful, gut wrenching, humorous, and shocking moments. Bridge this together with Kelly’s lead in directing coupled with the talents of the ensemble cast and the words become alive in a fresh, entertaining, and sometimes surprising way, certain to leave you changed by the end.
Grain of Salt plays January 22-31 in various Ottawa venues. I really hope to see you there as this won’t be something you’ll want to miss.
~Jonathan Harris (Artistic Director)