Around Town: Outside Mullingar, Sister Helen Prejean, Eyes of Agape . . .

Ron Reed (left), John Emmet Tracy, Rebecca deBoer and Erla Faye Forsyth in Outside Mullingar. Photo by Matt Reznek.

Ron Reed (left), John Emmet Tracy, Rebecca deBoer and Erla Faye Forsyth in Outside Mullingar. Photo by Matt Reznek.

Pacific Theatre will be creating a little corner of Ireland over the next month, in their production of Outside Mullingar.

But it took playwright John Patrick Shanley many decades to warm to such an undertaking. He said in a 2014 New York Times article: “I never wanted to write about the Irish.” Sure, he was Irish-American, but during 30 years of writing he rigorously avoided his heritage. 

Eventually, however, it caught up with him:

I always knew I’d have to come home eventually. I’m Irish as hell: Kelly on one side, Shanley on the other. My father had been born on a farm in the Irish Midlands. He and his brothers had been shepherds there, cattle and sheep, back in the early 1920s. I grew up surrounded by brogues and Irish music, but stayed away from the old country till I was over 40. I just couldn’t own being Irish.

outsidemullingar1A recent interview with director Angela Konrad in the Vancouver Sun captures some of Shanley’s journey:

Besides [being a] love story, the play is also about its setting, rural Ireland and family.

“Even if we aren’t Irish, or from a farm, there’s a feeling of coming home that the play evokes,” Konrad said.

“And the relationships in the family members are similar to the relationship they have with the land, this kind of love/hate kind of thing.”

As part of her research, Konrad visited Ireland, specifically the county of Westmeath, where the play is set.

“It gave me a deeper appreciation for where this is, and for how it feels,” she said. “So many different references in the script make sense to me now. Yes the roads are as wide as your leg. Yes, they’re dangerous. Little things that make it easier to enter into the reality of that world.”

This is the outline of the Outside Mullingar story, according to Pacific Theatre, 

Rosemary and Anthony are a pair of introverted misfits whose families have lived on neighbouring farms as far back as anyone can remember, battling over property lines and childhood stories but never what matters most. A quirky story of flawed love and some kind of happiness told with effortless wit and poetic Irish lyricism.

Go to Soul Food Vancouver for more background on Shanley and his play, which runs May 19 – June 10.

Sister Helen Prejean, at the opera
 
Sister Helen Prejean was in Vancouver for the Dead Man Walking opera late last month.

Sister Helen Prejean was in Vancouver for the Dead Man Walking opera late last month.

I try to keep up with significant events in the city, but I really missed a good one late last month. The renowned Sister Helen Prejean (leading advocate for the abolition of the death penalty, whose work was featured in the movie Dead Man Walking) was in Vancouver for the opening of . . . Dead Man Walking (the opera). She was here to watch the Vancouver Opera perform her story and to speak on a social justice panel.
 
Fortunately, Agnieszka Krawczynski of The B.C. Catholic sat down with Prejean for an interview while she was in town. Here is a portion:
 
The B.C. Catholic: How does a religious education teacher start visiting inmates on death row?

Sister Helen Prejean: I was in my 40s. I had grown up in a privileged life. I became a nun. I was prayerful. I was the director of religious education in a parish, but I was always in the suburbs. We had 10 major housing projects where African-American people were suffering terribly (but) I was oblivious.

This is the way I thought: “If the poor have God, they have everything, no matter how much they have to suffer in this life. One day, their reward will be great in heaven.” 

Well, you can make those kinds of arguments when your family is not suffering, you’re not suffering, you have health care, you have education and you have everything you need. I was sincere, but I was not awake. 

The awakening happened when we were at a conference and a nun – Sister Marie Augusta Neal – was giving a talk and it was about being women of social justice. 

I’d been on the other side of the debate, the “spiritual” camp. We’re nuns. We’re not social workers. Then here comes this social justice nun. 

On the second day, she was talking about Jesus. She said integral to the Good News Jesus preached to poor people is that they would be poor no longer. It’s not God’s will for them to be poor and to suffer.

Everything changed then. It was like tectonic plates, everything shifted. I thought: “I don’t even know any poor people.” I woke up and moved into the St. Thomas housing projects. African-American people became my teachers then.

One day I came out of that adult learning centre called Hope House and somebody asked me: “Would you like to write someone on death row?” I didn’t know anything about prisons!

Go here for the full interview; it’s well worth reading.
 
Through the Eyes of Agape
 
throughtheeyesofagape1The work of Grace Tan is being featured at Regent College’s Lookout Gallery. Through the Eyes of Agape is described in this way:
 
Inspired by the story of Hagar in Genesis, Grace W.S. Tan captures the creative and compassionate nature of  “The God who sees” as she portrays a myriad of characters in figurative charcoal drawings.
 
From Tan’s biography:

Grace was born in Hong Kong and spent her formative years in England. She received her Art education partly in London and Toronto. For some 30 years after graduating from Ontario College of Art in Graphic Design and earning a Bachelor of Arts from University of Guelph, Grace did not engage in any artistic activities but devoted her time to the care of home and family.

Since 2000, she has inched her way back into art-making with her main focus in figurative art and her most preferred medium, today, is charcoal.

‘Charcoal feels like the extensions of my fingers!’

The exhibition runs until June 22.
 
Briefly noted
 
Armerding and Gasque: professors emeriti
Carl Armerding (left), Jeffrey Greenman and Ward Gasque – key players in the Regent College story.

Carl Armerding (left), Jeffrey Greenman and Ward Gasque – key players in the Regent College story.

Regent College announced the appointment of two new professors emeriti during the 47th Convocation of Regent College at the Chan Centre April 28. Regent president Jeffrey Greenman remembered the “manifold contributions” of Carl Armerding and Ward Gasque to the college. “Along the way,” said Greenman, “they’ve held various senior leadership roles at Regent: Carl served as principal-president between 1978-88, and Ward served as vice principal.” Go here for Greenman’s comments.

Roy Bell remembered

Roy Bell, former senior pastor at First Baptist in Vancouver and principal of Carey Theological College, passed away May 11 in Duncan, two days after his wife Elizabeth and he marked their 65th wedding anniversary. Roy is the father of the Canadian Baptist of Western Canada executive minister, Jeremy Bell. The funeral service will take place May 28, 3 pm, at First Baptist Church.
 
Prayer warrior passes on
 
Another leading figure in the Metro Vancouver area passed away recently. Arne Bryant, a Surrey resident who founded Prayer Canada, died May 14 at the age of 99. Beth Carson wrote his biography in 2014. There will be a celebration of his life at Calvary Worship Centre in Surrey May 20, 2 pm.
 

May 18, 2017

From Dust to Glory – May 18, 2017 - May 21, 2017 at All Day
Grace W.S. Tan: Through the Eyes of Agape – May 18, 2017 - June 22, 2017 at All Day
UGM: Call for Artists – May 18, 2017 - June 16, 2017 at All Day
Vancouver Remembers and Honours – May 18, 2017 at 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Journey 101 Course (Thursdays) – May 18, 2017 - June 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 19, 2017

Historymaker Conference 2017 – May 19, 2017 - May 21, 2017 at All Day
Called to Dialogue: Tools for Handling Crucial Conversations – May 19, 2017 - May 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Spreading the Gospel Through Music, featuring Ron Kenoly – May 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Tom Wuest: An Appalachian Home – Free Concert & Album Launch – May 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Handel Society presents G.F. Handel's Chandos Anthems #9 & #11, F.J. Handel's Eine Kleine Ogelmess – May 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Stanley – May 19, 2017 - June 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

May 20, 2017

Organ Concerti: Barry Waterlow – May 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
The Bible in the News Meet-Up Group (Saturday evenings) – May 20, 2017 - August 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Handel Society presents G.F. Handel's Chandos Anthems #9 & #11, F.J. Handel's Eine Kleine Ogelmess – May 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

May 21, 2017

Joe Zambon 'Love Is' Tour – May 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

May 22, 2017

NEEDTOBREATHE in Concert – May 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 24, 2017

Darrell Bock: From the Earth Up or Heaven Down? – The Gospels' Approach to the Jesus Story – May 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Molly Griffin & Tristan Paxton – May 24, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

May 25, 2017

(in)finite: Spiritual Conversations in Cloth – May 25, 2017 - June 4, 2017 at All Day
A Rocha's Barn Raiser – May 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 26, 2017

Talks With Tom: Human Trafficking – May 26, 2017 at 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Dr. James Houston & Chris Houston: For Goodness' Sake – Christian Identity & Business Leadership – May 26, 2017 - May 27, 2017 at 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Chapel Unified – May 26, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 27, 2017

Global Outreach Day – May 27, 2017 at All Day
Greater Vancouver Chinese Missions Conference – May 27, 2017 - May 28, 2017 at All Day
ISMC Fellowship Breakfast – May 27, 2017 at 8:30 am - 11:00 am
Storytelling and Digital Media Workshop: Video and Photography with Kenton MacDonald-Lin – May 27, 2017 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
I Stop Traffick Run/Walk – May 27, 2017 at 9:30 am - 1:00 pm
Pastors & Leaders: Voices Together Informational Brunch – May 27, 2017 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am
EMBER : Worship & Prayer – May 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Screening: Over 18 – May 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Pilkey Sisters – May 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

May 28, 2017

Vancouver Bach Choir: Oh Canada! – May 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Jazz Vespers: Steve Maddock – May 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

May 29, 2017

Kairos Course (Condensed) – May 29, 2017 - June 2, 2017 at All Day
Concert and Reading with Sam Rocha: Tell Them Something Beautiful – May 29, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 30, 2017

Culture Seep: How Vancouver Culture is Changing the Way We Worship – May 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

May 31, 2017

Douglas Moo: How to Discover the Will of God – New Covenant Transformed Thinking – May 31, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Natalia Pardalis & Friends – May 31, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

June 2, 2017

Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation – June 2, 2017 - June 4, 2017 at All Day

June 3, 2017

Un-Stuck: Inspiring Movement Toward Christ and His Mission – June 3, 2017 at 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Christian Estate Planning Seminar – June 3, 2017 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

June 4, 2017

Praise in the Park – June 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
City Wide Prayer – June 4, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

June 5, 2017

Concert and Reading with Sam Rocha: Tell Them Something Beautiful – June 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 6, 2017

Experience Regent – June 6, 2017 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

June 7, 2017

Anabaptist Theology Conference – June 7, 2017 - June 9, 2017 at All Day
Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited Golf Tournament – June 7, 2017 at 10:30 am - 7:30 pm
Made in God's Image – June 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Gordon T. Smith: Being Christian in a Secular Society – Getting Beyond the Culture Wars – June 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Armi Grano & Friends – June 7, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

June 10, 2017

Run for the Nations: DRIME 2017 annual charity fundraiser – June 10, 2017 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Catholics & Evangelicals: What Can We Learn From Each Other? – June 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Hymn Festival – June 10, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

June 11, 2017

One City, One Message – June 11, 2017 at All Day
Jazz Vespers: Glenda Rae, Brett Wade & Miles Black – June 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

June 12, 2017

Philosophers' Cafe: What do you think about C.S. Lewis’s views on love? – June 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

June 14, 2017

Laura A. Smit: Beauty as Iconoclast – June 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Natasha D'Agostino & Friends – June 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

June 15, 2017

Generous Space Launch Party – June 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

June 17, 2017

St. Andrew's United Church 12th annual Teddy Bear Picnic – June 17, 2017 at 10:30 am - 2:00 pm
Organ Concerti: Gail Ovington, Carmen Ranta – June 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

June 18, 2017

World Refugee Sunday – June 18, 2017 at All Day
Point Grey Fiesta: Ecumenical Service – June 18, 2017 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am

June 20, 2017

Church Leaders Forum: Flying in Formation – June 20, 2017 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

June 21, 2017

Mental Health, Faith and Community – June 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Migration, Mission and Multiplication Movements – June 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Migration, Mission and Multiplication Movements – June 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Jazz Evensong: Marcos Flo & Friends – June 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

June 22, 2017

Charles Montgomery: Soul and the City – June 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

June 23, 2017

Vancouver International Jazz Festival: Jazz Vespers at St. Andrew's-Wesley – June 23, 2017 - July 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

June 25, 2017

World Refugee Sunday – June 25, 2017 at All Day
Jazz Vespers: Karen Graves & Miles Black – June 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

June 27, 2017

Vancouver International Jazz Festival: Cyrus Chestnut Trio – June 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

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