'Stoning Mary' offers avant-garde trio of stories at Ensemble Theatre

'Stoning Mary' offers avant-garde trio of stories at Ensemble Theatre

April 1st, 2011 by Clint Cooper in Chattnow Art

Debbie Tucker Green is a rather in-your-face playwright, according to Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga producing partner Christy Gallo.

So the theater's "Stoning Mary," which opens today for a three-weekend run, is no walk in the park.

The production is composed of three stories, "which all overlap and are interlaced," Gallo said. All three, she said, are somewhat of a "reflection on humanity, on what we'll do to survive."

"Stoning Mary" is controversial because of "how [Green] chose to write it," she said. "It's mainly the rhythm and music of the stories - the words. It's an intense piece."

The three stories are "The Aids Genocide. The Prescription," "The Child Soldier" and "Stoning Mary."

In the first, a married couple fight over the single prescription they can afford for the AIDS medication both of them need. In the second, warring parents wait for their child-soldier son to return home. And in the third, a woman waits in prison to be stoned to death by her community.

Gallo said the stories are set in modern times in the country in which the play is presented, and all the characters are intentionally white.

The casting choice is the playwright's decision, she said, because it removes any stereotype the subject matter might suggest and offers "humanity."

Director John Thomas Cecil, according to Gallo, said the plays depict, at their base, "a struggle for survival."

"Stoning Mary," she said, "is very avant-garde." Audiences "need to be actively interested in coming to see it. It will evoke a lot from the audience."

Gallo, who also is in the cast, said the production is geared to adults and parents should use their discretion in allowing teenagers to see it.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497.