Grace & Glorie plays at the Chemainus Theatre Festival until Nov. 7

Grace & Glorie plays at the Chemainus Theatre Festival until Nov. 7

The Grace & Glorie of dying

Many strands make up the fabric of this play, but they are all part of a pattern

n Grace & Glorie, by Tom Zeigler, an old backwoods woman and a displaced New York sophisticate discover that they need each other, even if getting close is about as easy as a couple of porcupines snuggling.

Grace has grown up an illiterate farmers’ wife, who has outlived her parents, husband, and all five of her children. She’s well acquainted with death, and clings close to her version of God because she’s terrified, now that her end is nigh.

Gloria has surpassed the expectations of her sexist father, intimidated her lawyer husband with her success in business – and cheated on him to boot. She’s outgrown any notion of a god in the sky, who’s going to help resolve the conflict and guilt she suffers over the death of her only son in a car crash.

But her sophistication has left her at an existentialist dead-end, without answers or solace.

Many strands make up the fabric of this play, but they are all part of a pattern that tries to make sense of life and death from a feminine point of view.

Men are given sort shrift. Grace’s husband was a misogynist of the first order, her grandson a redneck more interested in his inheritance than her; Gloria’s mate is an inadequate lover who can at best be considered useful from time to time for his legal prowess; it’s men who are tearing apart Grace’s farm for redevelopment while she’s dying in a cabin on the property; and even the biblical God is a man, who has condemned womanhood with the blight of original sin.

It’s against this backdrop – constantly re-enforced by the roar of bulldozers and excavators tearing up Grace’s farm – that the women have to look for meaning and for common ground.

The meaning they discover is in each other, and in the future potential of Grace’s niece. Both women learn that the significance of their situation is found in the help and comfort they offer each other.

Grace & Glorie doesn’t offer easy answers. The miracles are human in stature – and humane. Dying is tough business, if you want to live life right through to the end.

Grace & Glorie runs to Nov. 7 at the Chemainus Theatre. More information at 250-246-9800 or chemainustheatre.ca.