The Saints Project: Monster [2012]

Interpreting a contemporary fairy talE

Craning Neck Theatre, in co-production with Theatre Conspiracy, presented an in-progress production of ground-breaking American playwright Erik Ehn’s new Saint Play Monster  at Chapel Arts in 2012, in Craning Neck’s workshow series.

The head of playwriting and professor of theatre and performance studies at Brown University, Ehn is renowned for proposing the RAT (Regional Alternative Theatre) movement in the U.S. and for creating the annual Arts in the One World conference, which engages themes of art and social change. He refers to his Saint plays as “contemporary fairy tales for the stage.”

Monster is the story of two women: St. Clare, an ascetic nun of the 13th century and the Saint of Broadcasting; and Reena, an art teacher stricken by poverty and sickness in present-day Vancouver. As in all the works in Ehn’s Saint Plays cycle, the play examines the common pathways of secular and religious existence; focusing on issues of addiction and transcendence, Monster looks at two women as symbols of communion, their blood binding pain with meaning and purpose.

Led by director Jeremy Waller (artist-in-residence at Theatre Conspiracy), the workshop centred around Ehn’s second draft; while digging into the new text, Craning Neck continued to explore the intersection of event and stylized performance styles and design concepts, culminating in six public performances – May 10 to 12 – where audience feedback was elicited. The design team included Parjad Shariffi on projection and lighting design, Emma Hendrix on sound, and Flo Barrett on costumes; Heidi Taylorwas production dramaturge. Performers Adriana Bucz and Nita Bowerman returned to the project, and Nneka Croal was new to the ensemble.

Craning Neck Theatre presented a 20-minute excerpt from The Saints Project: Monster at PuShOFF 2013.