Beckey Hachey acknowledges it’s the biggest challenge of her theatrical career.
In Peninsula Productions’ Agnes of God (Feb. 28 – March 9 at Coast Capital Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd.) she plays the title role of Sister Agnes, a young, novice nun accused of murdering her newborn baby.
John Pielmeier’s compelling drama, directed by Wendy Bollard, examines both faith in religion and faith in science as it follows a battle of wills between Agnes’ Mother Superior, Miriam Ruth (Nancy Ebert), and court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Martha Livingstone (Laine Henderson).
“For some reason I’ve shied away from roles like this,” said Hachey, best known to local audiences for her work in the farces Bedfull of Foreigners and No Sex, Please, We’re British for the Royal Canadian Theatre Company, and as the German-Canadian Marta, in the Second World War drama Waiting For The Parade, directed by Bollard last year.
“And for some reason, I really connected with Agnes – she really hits a note for me,” she said.
“I’ve never played a role quite like this. It’s very challenging. But I really love what Wendy is doing with Peninsula Productions and I wanted the chance to work with her again.”
There’s an innocence and goodness to Agnes, who finds self-expression – and a way of dealing with some horrendous incidents in her life – through her love of singing, Hachey said.
“She has a huge heart – she really wants to love everybody,” she said.
“She really doesn’t know the things that have happened to her. She’s buried them down deep.”
Hachey says she is benefitting from the creative direction of Bollard and the believable perfomances of Ebert and Henderson.
“Laine has such a vulnerability in her face. It’s very easy to connect with her.”
Rehearsing the play has been a “real emotional roller-coaster,” she said, adding that audiences can expect a theatrical experience of emotional intensity.
“But I hope people see the beautiful side of the story, because it is there, even though sadness and terrible things occur – there’s so much love there,” she said.
Tickets ($18-23) are on sale at Coast Capital Playhouse, 604-536-7535, or through www.peninsulaproductions.com