An interview with Ron about MOTHER TERESA IS DEAD.
Can you give me one sentence on why you are excited about MOTHER TERESA IS DEAD?
It’s not in your face, but the sophistication of the questions it’s asking and its insights into human nature are just extraordinary.
Pacific Theatre is known for questioning faith and spiritual issues – are the questions in Mother Teresa is Dead new ground for the company?
These questions of international aid and philanthropy are new ground for Pacific Theatre, and untouched ground for theatre in general. Philanthropy is a really boring word, and that’s why they don’t make shows about it, but actually, “to give or not to give” is a fundamental question that eats up most of us. We sit in our privileged, wealthy, Vancouver world and we go “yeah, but what do I do about people not getting an education in that country?” Do we impose it on them? No. That said, if they want it and we have the means to help them have it, what do we do?
Helen Edmundson asks these questions in a way that just digs away at our motivations. She takes that impulse to care, to love the person in need, and asks, how do we do it? What happens when we do it? What are the consequences of doing it badly? Can it be done well at all? That situation that you’re helping- how complex is that situation actually that you don’t know?
How does this question of giving fit in with the faith aspect to Pacific Theatre’s mandate?
That famous passage about love in Corinthians 13 – in the King James Bible, it’s the word for charity. Originally charity was just the word for love, the impetus for love that is not erotic. Corinthians 13. Charity. Love. Ask anybody: what’s best about Christianity? It is a religion of love and compassion. What’s worst about Christianity? When does everyone know that it’s an abomination? It’s when it becomes about something else: power, war, dogma. Not many people can argue with that impetus of Jesus to love thy neighour. There’s something profoundly good and true about that. When you put it in those terms it’s obvious how it ties in to Pacific Theatre’s mission.
Director/producer Evan Frayne is a former apprentice of Pacific Theatre’s who won the Sam Payne Award for most promising newcomer in his apprentice year. How has that relationship developed?
Evan Frayne is one of our several all-time great apprentices. He arrived here two years ago with good training behind him, early in his growth in his professional career. During his time here he was on stage in a couple of shows, directed, acted, did all the other things in the apprenticeship program, and since then has stayed close to the theatre. This is a great model for how our apprenticeship program can work: take someone who’s a really talented actor, and give him a step to step on, a stage to stand on, a community to be a part of, and then he grew from there. That perfect match of where he was at in his progress and how that fits with our company, and that fits perfectly now with having him produce and direct this show for our stage.