News / Edmonton

Posters for controversial play on religion ripped down from Whyte Ave

Gina Moe, with Northern Light Theatre, says someone along Whyte Avenue has been ripping down the posters for the screening of The Testament of Mary, which has attracted controversy in the past.

Omar Mosleh / Metro Order this photo

Gina Moe, with Northern Light Theatre, says someone along Whyte Avenue has been ripping down the posters for the screening of The Testament of Mary, which has attracted controversy in the past.

Northern Light Theatre representatives are perplexed as to why someone would rip down their posters for a controversial play about the Virgin Mary.

The play in question is ‘The Testament of Mary’, which challenges the Biblical narrative of Mary. Not long after they put up about 100 posters in the Whyte Avenue area, the posters disappeared, according to theatre officials.

“We don’t know who ripped down our posters or why. But when (The Testament of Mary) been done before, specifically at a production at Broadway with Fiona Shaw, there were protests against the play because it’s not the Biblical representation of Mary,” said Northern Light Theatre general manager Gina Moe.

Closer to home, an organization called the Rosary Rally of Edmonton applied for permission to demonstrate against the production, Moe said. But Metro could not find any contact info for the group and a Quebec-based organization called Canada Needs Our Lady, which does hold rosary rallies, said they were not associated with them.

“We were surprised when somebody petitioned to get a permit to protest us, because we’re a very small company,” Moe said.

The play presents Mary as grieving and traumatized after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and she’s deeply troubled by what she witnessed.

For that reason, it could be a religious organization who tore down the posters. But then Moe wonders why they also didn’t tear down other objectionable posters along Whyte Avenue.

“It could have been an atheist who just didn’t like religious posters,” Moe said.
“We would like to find out what their motivation was. If we’re going to do controversial work, we have to be prepared to talk about it.”

The Testament of Mary is one in a series of plays exploring women’s identities when it comes to sexuality, religion and society.

Moe sees the poster removal as someone expressing this discomfort with Northern Light Theatre challenging the traditional role of women in society.

“The writings about Jesus in the Bible are for men, and women are mostly just referred to as mothers, wives and daughters,” she said.

“Ripping down our posters is another sign of someone out there silencing a woman’s voice and a woman’s story. And I think that’s pretty topical.”

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