Quiet Faith is the cumulative voice of a cross section of Australian Christians expressing what their religion means. Documentary theatre maker, David Williams created the work by cutting and splicing together segments from interviews conducted with 20 christians from diverse backgrounds.
The verbatim work is performed by two actors who deliver the thoughtfully compiled statements using vocal and physical cues to suggest personality types, while at the same time being careful to retain some ambiguity. Williams himself is one the performers, alongside Rose Maher, but they don’t necessarily take gender specific roles. The soundscape also includes well-known hymns and choral singing. With the audience seated on benches or plain chairs around the performers, and lighting being subdued, the overall impression is that of a congregation. Actors and audience interact, so each show is unpredictable.
“It’s been performed in rural towns and cities and the responses are not necessarily what you’d expect. It means every performance is unique,” says Williams.
While the interviews were conducted several years ago when the play was first performed, Williams says the subject matter and opinions are still very relevant. Respondents were asked to comment on matters of politics, media, social issues and discuss how religion is used and misused to advance particular agendas. Interviewees also discuss their own relationship with Christianity and how it vibes with other religions.
“It’s something that will appeal to people whether they’re Christians or they belong to another faith or even if they don’t believe in anything,” says Williams. “There are some very moving, powerful moments…there have been tears in the audience.”
Until Apr 28. Riverside Theatre, Cnr Church and Market St, Parramatta. $44-$49+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au
By Rita Bratovich.