Abalone Productions brings Grain of Salt to Ottawa Fringe. Straight from the mouths of Christians and non-Christians a like this play based on verbatim interviews may end up make you questioning what you personally believe.
Should you see it?
Five actors representing many different characters, some doing individual monologues, others conversing, all about the church. Is the church inherently good? Is the church inherently bad? Does the church need to apologize for its transgressions of the past and of the present? If so, what are those transgressions? Will it even make a difference?
Grain of Salt is an in depth look into the mind of how people view Christianity and the church’s role in society today, and it is eye opening. Having been raised in an evangelical church setting myself I sat back and heard arguments and discussions I was raised hearing on a daily basis, and it’s refreshing to hear some of the skepticism I had growing up and hold onto today being spoken by other people who grew up similarly to me.
The greatest aspect of this show is that the script is largely based on real conversations and interviews with people who honestly have these shared feelings. Unfortunately that is sometimes where the play doesn’t really fit all together, as the snippets of interviews have to be cut down for time and dramatized sometimes context, especially historical context in relation to religion in general, is cut out of the play. Every so often an interview or two comes across as ignorant, displaying a lack of said context.
The show is fairly unbiased in its presentations showing pros and cons and handling reactions from skeptics with class without being preachy in the least bit. The play touches on a whole range of aspects including the Crusades, feminism, race, homosexuality and so much more.
The actors are all strong actors who command your attention the moment they take the stage. They are also all amazing singers who intertwine the stories with song which just feels right. The show does feel long though with its 75 minute run time and many of the arguments and validations of the interview are repeated more often than they should be.
Grain of Salt is a great theological debate though and acknowledges that there is an answer out there that may just be bigger than any of us and that sometimes, we’re just happier living in our own ignorance.
What did you think of Grain of Salt? Do you feel that an apology from the Church will change anything? How did this show make you question the beliefs you held going into the show or did it at all? Join the discussion in the comments below!
You can also check out a review by On Stage reviewer and editor Valerie Cardinal from earlier on this year here.