December 16, 2018

Winnipeg
-3° C, Clear

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Gracie tells tale of strength's triumph over sweetness

Leif Norman photo</p><p>Winnipeg-born actress Samantha Hill stars as the spirited Gracie.</p></p>

Leif Norman photo

Winnipeg-born actress Samantha Hill stars as the spirited Gracie.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2017 (428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

‘Keeping sweet” is a constant refrain heard in Joan MacLeod’s drama Gracie, the season opener at Prairie Theatre Exchange.

It’s an admonition to the young heroine — and women and girls in general — uttered by the self-appointed “prophet” of a breakaway polygamous Mormon sect, expressing the notion that the proper behaviour is to be cheerfully compliant when it comes to bending to the will of male elders.

But we have encouraging signs upon meeting the eight-year-old title character, played by youthful-looking Winnipeg-born actress Samantha Hill, that Gracie doesn’t have a natural disposition to be “sweet.”

Gracie arrives in the company of a large family travelling from Utah to British Columbia “for a wedding.” What they don’t tell customs officials is that it is Gracie’s mother who is getting married, the 18th in a series of wives for one of a very few men allowed to take multiple wives.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2017 (428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

‘Keeping sweet" is a constant refrain heard in Joan MacLeod’s drama Gracie, the season opener at Prairie Theatre Exchange.

It’s an admonition to the young heroine — and women and girls in general — uttered by the self-appointed "prophet" of a breakaway polygamous Mormon sect, expressing the notion that the proper behaviour is to be cheerfully compliant when it comes to bending to the will of male elders.

But we have encouraging signs upon meeting the eight-year-old title character, played by youthful-looking Winnipeg-born actress Samantha Hill, that Gracie doesn’t have a natural disposition to be "sweet."

Gracie arrives in the company of a large family travelling from Utah to British Columbia "for a wedding." What they don’t tell customs officials is that it is Gracie’s mother who is getting married, the 18th in a series of wives for one of a very few men allowed to take multiple wives.

The purpose, we’re told, is his achieving godhood in the afterlife.

The specific locations are not mentioned, but we understand Gracie has taken residence in Bountiful, B.C., a Canadian stronghold of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

Hill is the only person on the striking, organic-looking set created by Brian Perchaluk to be pointedly suggestive of the crossroads where Gracie is heading.

Through Gracie’s monologues and conversations she recounts with friends and family, we get a powerful and sympathetic portrait of this young girl as she painfully transitions to womanhood and — at the age of 15 — impending marriage.

Gracie is the object of ridicule to non-believers in her community and a brainwashed cultist to be saved in the eyes of "angry grannies," who routinely stage protests at the gates of the FLDS property.

But MacLeod’s script allows her the dignity to transcend victimhood.

It also acknowledges the difficultly of rising above hard-core indoctrination that includes a "social studies" class alternating between the study of only two historical figures: Mormonism founder Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ.

Hill has been celebrated primarily as a musical star — with high-profile Broadway roles in shows such as Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera — but in Gracie, she takes to a purely dramatic role with admirable energy over 90 intermission-free minutes.

Apparently, she doesn’t need a designated showstopper to command our attention.

There may have been a temptation to give the work an overlay of Handmaid’s Tale-style dystopian satire in the face of regressive right-wing fundamentalism that has reared its ugly head in recent years.

But director Robert Metcalfe resists the urge to overstatement. Instead, he focuses on the lonely journey of a girl painfully compelled to put her faith in herself.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @FreepKing

 

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us