Magical storytelling and Catholic tradition meet in Factory 449’s new production.
By Julie LaPorte
Factory 449 – a theatre collective of actors, writers, filmmakers and musicians – throw themselves into their second season with Erik Ehn‘s fantastical The Saint Plays. Directed by John Moletress, The Saint Plays is running through October 10 at Church Street Theatre.
“Opening our second season with The Saint Plays – actually six short plays from a larger cycle – is both daunting and extremely exciting,” said Producing Artistic Director Rick Hammerly. “Erik’s writing is poetic, elusive and steeped in imagery, leaving open its interpretation by the artists creating the production. Discovering and creating a production through diverse artistic forms including video, puppetry, contact improvisation and stylized movement is exactly what unites and excites Factory 449 as a company.”
Ehn’s play explores the intersection of faith and our reality, imagining the lives of saints today. Saint Joan of Arc makes a reappearance connected with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Saint Rose of Lima is present at the 1981 El Mazote massacre in El Salvador as well as at the 1978 Jonestown mass suicide of Jim Jones. The homeless in Lower Manhattan are in need of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. John the Baptist is reborn in a New Mexico trailer park. And the reinterpreted Saint George the Dragon Slayer takes the wings of a young girl born a freak.
Each member of the cast delivers their lines with energy and conviction – from Tom Carman, to Sun King Davis, Zehra Fazal, Dexter Hamlett, Allyson Harkey, Lisa Hodsoll, Belen Oyola-Rebaza, Betsy Rosen, Lorena Sabogal and David Lamont Wilson.
“Erik Ehn makes the act of creating theatre exciting, enticing and possible,” said Moletress. “He is a true theatre auteur, creating post-modern landscapes of images and ideas – a playground for artists to examine their relationship to an evolving world. His work is both influential and essential, testing the limits of theatricality by playing form against content and ultimately digging deep wells for the filling of dramaturgical questions. In The Saint Plays we are presented with the question of allegorical preservation: Where does our faith come from? How has the story changed? Where do we begin to excavate the answers?”
For more information on The Saint Plays and to buy tickets, visit Factory 449.
Julie LaPorte is a freelance writer living outside Washington, D.C. For the past year she has served as a columnist for Washington Life Magazine – penning reviews for the Performing Arts and the Paint the Town columns. She also works as a political marketing copywriter for candidates in local, state and national campaigns as well as for Congressional franked mail.