Language is the Heart of the Matter in THE JOY at Metro Arts
"One of the reasons I initially was attracted to the piece was the language," Laurelann Porter said. "Perhaps because the playwright made careful effort to write in the style of language that was used at the time, and the formality of the language, it feels almost poetic, or like elevated text. I feel similarly about the language of Edgar Allen Poe. I've been working on the Poe Fest for about 6 years now and each year I fall more in love with his careful and deliberate way he crafts language poetically. This piece has a similar quality. The language is purposeful and clear. And the message is carried in descriptive prose that evokes visceral sensations."
Porter will perform Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop's The Joy as part of Now & Then Creative Company's Sandbox series.
"On a different note," Porter continued, "I love hearing stories about how a person finds spiritual strength and solace in surprising places. I personally believe that the divine can be found in all sorts of human interactions. Each of us has the capacity to manifest the divine. But too often we are taught that only an ordained priest or pastor can offer us the direction or comfort that we need. When our narrator describes her friend Anne, she says:
"The barber, surgeon, publican and ferryman sought out Anne's counsel. She served as our spiritual guide, not by election nor by sanctimonious appointment, but by grace itself."
"I often find that there are people in my life who just exude the kind of tranquility that goes along with spiritual enlightenment. These are the friends whose counsel I seek even when they may have no affiliation with any religion. So to imagine that a friend like that, someone who holds more light that most human beings, could be so horribly persecuted, well, it's heart-breaking. So, for our narrator Mary to have experienced that, overcome it, and still had the courage and determination to stand up for what she believed in the end, it's quite a story indeed," Porter concluded.
THE JOY performance is January 19th, 7:30pm at the Metropolitan Arts Institute. All seats are available online for $11.34 (includes service fee) or at the door for $10. Metropolitan Arts Institute is an accessible performance space, 1700 N. 7th Ave Phoenix, AZ 85007. For more information, visit the Now & Then Creative Company website.