June 12 to 16: The Madonna Painter

New Taboo Theatre Production Looks At The Dark Side of Religion

Taboo Theatre’s next production is a contemporary Canadian play about art, religion, sex and death which aligns well with the company’s mandate to produce work that embraces controversy and defies conventional morals. The Madonna Painter has been described by its playwright, Michel Marc Bouchard, as “a collision of ecstasies, a bouquet of lies disguised as a fable” which is “writ in scarlet pigments, in holy wine and haemoglobin.” It has a touch of the macabre as well, something that was displayed prominently in Taboo’s last production, Festival of Fear: An Evening of Grand Guignol III.

The play, loosely inspired by actual events, is about a handsome young priest in a French-Canadian village who commissions an itinerant Italian painter to create a fresco of the Virgin Mary on the walls of the local church in an effort to fight a deadly Spanish flu epidemic in 1918. A doctor with a disturbing fascination for the priest provides the money for this enterprise and three of the village’s virgins, all named Mary, audition to be the model for the painting but another Mary is chosen: the outcast Mary of the Secrets, a girl tormented by the confessions of townsfolk before their deaths. The unforeseen consequences have a devastating impact on the community.

The Madonna Painter poster

The Madonna Painter. Poster design by Colleen MacIsaac.

Michel Marc Bouchard has written twenty-five plays and has received numerous awards, including the National Order of Quebec and the Order of Canada. The Madonna Painter is directed by Luciana Fernandes, who was on the production teams of Taboo’s shows Festival of Fear: An Evening of Grand Guignol III and Phaedra’s Love. Taboo’s Artistic Director, Stephanie Kincade, is the producer.

Production Team
Stage Manager: Xian Niles
Director: Luciana Silvestre Fernandes
Producer: Stephanie Kincade
Associate Producer: Mike Chandler
Production Manager: Sam Horak
Costume Designer: Sinead O’Rafferty-Swain
Poster and Program Design: Colleen MacIsaac

Cast
Doctor: Andrew Gouthro
Priest: Dan Bray
Alessandro: Roy Ellis
Mary of the Secrets: Paige Smith
Mary Anne: Gina Thornhill
Mary Frances: Vikki Humphrey
Mary Louise: Kate Bray

Where: Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen St., Halifax, NS.

When: June 12 – 16, 8 pm plus 2 pm matinee on June 16.

Cost: $20, $15 for artists, unwaged and students.

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