Slightly over two years in the past, Ok. Jenkins’ new play “A Single Prayer” was all set to premiere on the Firehouse Theatre. Then, the pandemic struck.
“It never really had the light of day,” says Mark J. Lerman, the director of the present and Jenkins’ husband. “It never had a first experience with an audience. We were really ready for that audience two years ago.”
Before lengthy, the solid and crew regrouped, first on Zoom, then in individual with masks on. Of the unique seven solid members, 5 stayed on; the opposite two needed to depart the present due to time commitments. Now, “A Single Prayer” is lastly prepared for its debut on the Firehouse.
While the play nonetheless facilities on Clem, a 17-year-old who feels trapped whereas making an attempt to unravel a rift in her household, some components of the present have morphed within the intervening two years.
“It radically changed the production on some level,” says Lerman of the pandemic. “Because it’s a memory play, it changed how the central character interacted with these memories. It’s a little starker. It’s a little less opulent than it was two years ago.”
The baby of divorced mother and father, Clem is caught within the center when her stepmother begins some drama along with her mom, turning Clem’s world on its head.
“There’s a pretty gnarly event that happens, and no one will tell Clem the truth. She’s kind of being gaslit by her whole family,” says Madison Hatfield, who performs Clem. “[Clem is] forced to question every single adult in her life and go, ‘Is this truthful?’”
Hatfield joined the solid in June 2020 and has been concerned with the manufacturing since.
“It’s been a really wonderful process, because we got to spend so much time with the text,” she says. “We’ve all had the material for so long and got to watch it morph and breathe.”
Jenkins, an ethnographer and sociologist of faith and household who teaches on the College of William and Mary, drew inspiration from a e book she wrote about divorce and the way folks use faith to manage in its aftermath. As a toddler of divorce who additionally went via her personal divorce as an grownup, Jenkins says these life occasions helped inform the play.
“It’s about a young woman caught in the middle of divorced parents and all of the kinds of confusion and absurdities that can happen in those situations,” explains Jenkins, who lately printed one other e book about how households join by mountaineering the Camino de Santiago. “It’s about memories of disruption and how we can make sense of memories, and what it means to heal and move on.”
Clem is assisted in her journey by her classmate Michael. Played by Adam Turck, Michael has angel-like qualities, together with the flexibility to fly.
“He helps guide her through this process,” Hatfield says. “He is her muse, in a way.”
Overall, Jenkins says the present is about how “connection and healing and relationships are of the utmost importance.”
While noting that many theaters and performers transitioned to creating digital works within the pandemic, Lerman says there’s nothing fairly just like the enchantment of a reside present like “A Single Prayer.”
“There’s a lot of interesting work going on in the world, but when all is said and done, there’s nothing like that live experience of a performance,” he says. “Music, theater, dance: you can appreciate it on a screen, but it’s a different world when it’s live and in person, especially in a small intimate space like Firehouse. You’re just so close, and I think that changes your experience.”
“A Single Prayer,” performs April 20-May 8 on the Firehouse Theatre, 1609 W. Broad St., 23220. For extra data, go to firehousetheatre.org or name (804) 355-2001.