Monday, March 11, 2013

mother teresa is dead | director's notes

A note from director Evan Frayne on MOTHER TERESA IS DEAD.

So, the name of the play is MOTHER TERESA IS DEAD. It’s a statement of fact, a point of view of one of the characters has at the beginning of the play, as well as an introduction to the discourse of the play- a play that asks big questions, questions that, I think, many of us have struggled with. Questions like, “How do I reconcile private comfort with public virtue? If I concentrate solely on my family unit am I blinding myself to the horrors and injustice of the world beyond? How do I live a thinking, sensitive life when everywhere around me is poverty, injustice and catastrophe?”

I was introduced to the play a year ago. I loved it; big questions, no clear answers, no telling the audience how to live their lives. I connected instantly with Mark. Who I didn’t like. I thought he was the least interesting character in the play. After some time, I started to relate to Mark. Although set a world away, Mark reminded me of attitudes I faced growing up in a small town, full of straight forward people who worked hard for what they had, people who had been handed nothing and didn’t think they were owed anything. But there was also a fear involved, a fear of the outside world and a fear of losing that which they had worked so hard to achieve. A fear I had experienced myself, working my way through college at a sawmill, watching as trees were transported past the mill to be shipped to mills overseas. Shortly after I finished college, that mill was dismantled. Luckily for me I had supportive parents, and eyes on a different career so the mill closure didn’t hurt me in the way that it did so many other families.

It’s been a year since the first time I read the play, and now I face it as a director. I’ve looked at the play from the point of view of the other characters and there are no easy answers. I hope that the play provides a jumping off point for an active discussion about all of our responsibilities as citizens of this community as well as the global community. And hey- if you see me at the theatre after you’ve see the show, let’s talk about these things. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Pacific Theatre’s audience, it’s that they like to engage with the issues of what’s up on stage.

Pacific Theatre is my favourite theatre company in Vancouver. I must admit, I’m biased; I spent a season there as an apprentice. I’ve also worked there as an actor. And you know what? I don’t care if I’m biased. Pound for pound they produce the most engaging, thought provoking plays in the city and they are a perfect partner for us to produce MOTHER TERESA IS DEAD. The space, the folks in the office, the production team and most importantly, the audience. Pacific Theatre’s audience is primed for MOTHER TERESA IS DEAD, they look for plays like this, they demand them. I’m excited to be a part of the team that is making this happen. This play is for you.

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