A Message From Our Fearless Leader
When I was looking at plays for this season, I came across a copy of John Pielmeier’s Agnes of God and almost immediately put it in the “No” pile.
My opinion of the play was solid even though I’d never read it or seen it performed. I knew that at one point everybody had done it and that there had been a fairly successful film adaptation of it, but it seemed like it would be the kind of theatrical antique that doesn’t get produced anymore for a reason.
Then I opened up the front cover and saw that the show only has three characters and I was intrigued. For some reason, I had thought of the show as being a bit more sprawling than that. I began to read.
It turns out the show is, indeed, quite sprawling--but in scope and story. Just the way we like them here at Epic.
Whenever I’m on the fence about producing a show, the Universe usually sends me a sign that it’s time to pull the trigger, and two days after I read Agnes, my friend Nate brought it up out of the blue and said he couldn’t believe there hadn’t been a major revival of it yet.
That was the sign I needed, because I felt exactly the same way.
What I read was an intelligent thriller with three of the best roles for women I’ve ever encountered, and a visceral approach to storytelling that’s constantly raising the stakes while never succumbing to easy answers or sentimentality.
If you’re going to do a season about truth, it seems necessary to touch upon religion, and we have not one, but two shows we’re working on this month that look at religion, religious extremism, and the relationship between organized religion and institutional ignorance. The denial of the truth and the consequences of it. One is Agnes of God and the other is the musical version of Stephen King’s Carrie produced by the Academy Players in association with our company.
We’ve assembled a powerhouse production team for this incredible play--including director Lynne Collinson, assistant Director Peggy Becker, stage manager Samantha Gaus, designers Terry Shea and Alexander Sprague, and our cast of Epic favorites--Melanie Stone, Angelique Dina, and Lee Rush. It’s an all-star line-up of talent that we’re very lucky to have.
Like last season’s The Christians, this play isn’t about bashing religion. It’s about the danger of hiding the truth when it doesn’t coincide with your chosen belief system. The questions it poses about faith and fixation remind me so much of Equus, another play that was once done too often only to see a resurgence in popularity.
Here’s hoping Agnes is next on that list.