|Publisher:||Talon Books Ltd||Published:||April 15th 2018|
Gracie is a dramatic monologue that tells the story of a girl raised in a fundamentalist community that transports child brides between polygamist communities in both Canada and the United States.
As the play opens, Gracie is eight years old and moving with her mother, brother, and sisters from her community in the southwestern United States to a community in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. Her mother has been assigned to a new husband; she becomes his eighteenth wife. In five acts, Gracie plays herself at five ages and also gives voice to thirteen other characters, including her older sister Celeste – who becomes a wife at sixteen, a mother at seventeen – and her brother Billy, who is forced out of the community just a few years after the family arrives in Canada. Gracie is fifteen when the play ends, again with a journey as she herself leaves the community.
Gracie loves her family, and her strong faith is a source of comfort to her. Although the play examines practices that are abhorrent, it does so without judgement (as critics have noted). The play is a work of fiction but is inspired by the history of polygamist communities in both Canada and the U.S. – and its timeliness as uncanny; two days after the play premiered (in January 2017), three persons from Canada’s largest polygamist community went to trial for transporting child brides. Gracie is window into a complex and secretive world. While it takes place in a sheltered community, it also resonates with issues at the fore right now: fundamentalism, basic human and religious rights.
Gracie is a terrific vehicle for a young actor, and the script is an engaging read that has broad appeal to readers young and old.
Cast of one woman.
Joan MacLeod’s plays include Jewel, Toronto, Mississippi, Amigo’s Blue Guitar, The Hope Slide, Little Sister, 2000, The Shape of a Girl, Homechild, Another Home Invasion, and The Valley. She also wrote a libretto for a chamber opera – an adaptationof the classic children’s novel The Secret Garden. Her work has been translated into eight languages. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including two Chalmers Canadian Play Awards, the Governor General’s Award, and in 2011 she received the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre. For seven years she was a playwright-in-residence at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre.Â MacLeod also writes poetry, prose, and for television. Since 2004 she has worked at the University of Victoria as a professor in the Department of Writing. In 2016, she became a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Gracie was commissioned by the Belfry and premiered in Victoria in Winter 2017 – a co-production with Alberta Theatre Projects in Calgary.