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Gracie, a child's life growing up in polygamous community

Alberta Theatre Projects brings powerful one-woman show to stage

Gracie is a one-woman show staring actress Lili Beaudoin.

Courtesy David Cooper

Gracie is a one-woman show staring actress Lili Beaudoin.

A 15-year-old girl living in a polygamous community struggles with the pressure to conform. Gracie is a powerful tale brought to life by just one actor on the stage. Director Vanessa Porteous tells us what to expect in the Alberta Theatre Projects production, which runs from Feb. 28 to March 18.

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Q: What can we expect from Gracie?

A: You’re hosted by a really astonishing actress, Lili Beaudoin. This is her first big break, and she plays the role of Gracie from the ages of eight to 15 – and all the other people in Gracie’s life. It’s really a tour de force theatre experience.

She’s a young girl who’s being raised by a polygamist community in the interior of BC. Modelled off a community that’s there right now call Bountiful. They’re in the news right now – some of the elders and grown ups are on trial for polygamy and trafficking a minor across the border.

Gracie has a happy childhood in this community, but as she gets older, she feels the tug between her family, her faith, her individual needs and personal freedoms. We watch her struggle and how she navigates that conflict.

Q: What is it about Lili that makes her performance so compelling?

A: She’s super talented. Just super talented. She’s very charismatic on stage – after a while, you totally forget it’s just one person on stage. You just follow the story of these characters, and every now and then you remember that all of them are coming from just one actor.

She really paints a whole society through just her voice, her movement and her acting. It’s really a once in a lifetime experience.

Q: What is it about Joan MacLeod’s language that makes her a fantastic playwright?

A: I think what’s so fantastic about Joan is that she writes from the heart, and she writes a world we recognize. It’s a familiar world of mothers and daughters, toys, food and snowy mornings. What fun it is as a kid walking through the snowdrifts.

As those details build up, the drama of the situation kind of starts to grip you. You start to really wonder, what’s going to happen to this girl, what’s going to happen when she reaches marriageable age.

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