Next week, a group of actors and their director will be on their way to a Houston soup kitchen — all part of their preparation for Main Street Theater's regional premiere of Grand Concourse by playwright Heidi Schreck.
Actor, professor and director Rachel Dickson says the four-member cast (Rutherford Cravens, Herman Gambhir, Callina Situka and Morgan Starr), has had to learn to work around a crowded kitchen on stage and it isn't all just for appearance. One way or another, eggs will be cooked on stage during each performance, she said.
The story begins with Shelley, a nun who has gone to work in a Bronx soup kitchen. She's efficient and capable, but her faith seems to be wavering. The arrival of Emma, a college dropout and volunteer filled with initial enthusiasm, adds to Shelley's stress as she becomes more and more erratic.
The characters deal in turn with mental illness, faithfulness and adultery, Dickson says, all of which can be difficult for people to discuss but are perhaps less threatening through the lens of theater. The focus of the play is on forgiveness, Dickson says.
And even though one of the central roles is that of a nun, the play doesn't require audience members to be religious to appreciate it, she adds.
“It deals with a universal issue whether you are part of a faith or not, forgiveness is something we all understand," Dickson says. "And personal struggle is something we all understand.”
Some of the subject matter is better left to older teens and adults, she adds, advising parents to leave youngsters at home.
Performances are scheduled for April 1-30 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at Main Street Theater – Rice Village, 2540 Times Boulevard. For information call 713.524.6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $36-$45.