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Mass appeal 

Tanya Davis takes on Catholic Mass, questioning and celebrating.

“The tone is less critical than exploratory,” says Davis of her new show. - SHANNON WEBB-CAMPBELL
  • “The tone is less critical than exploratory,” says Davis of her new show.
  • Shannon Webb-Campbell

Tanya Davis is an inquisitive soul. In her work as poet, playwright, filmmaker and musician, she's constantly delving into life's big questions around loving, belonging and believing.

Now Davis is reimagining the Catholic mass in a way that will bring the audience into an exploration of faith and doubt, exclusion and community. The piece is called Mass, and it's being directed by Ann-Marie Kerr. Currently in its workshop phase, Mass will have its first presentation in the sanctuary of Fort Massey Church on Saturday, November 15.

"I see this as an opportunity to put my questions out to an audience, to seek meaning together and to celebrate," explains Davis. "And while there's an element of the work that's critical of the institution of the Catholic church, I'd say overall the tone is less critical than exploratory."

The structure of Mass will be familiar to anyone who grew up, as Davis did, in the Catholic church. But the content is something very different. It will include original music written by Davis, a unique version of communion and audience participation through call-and-response.

Davis says the inherently theatrical nature of the Catholic mass offers a wonderful framework on which to hang the show. "Religion is something that brings people together who are looking for meaning, who are looking for commune with each other, who are looking for something greater than themselves," she says. "In some ways, the church offers answers by saying 'sign up here and believe this.'" Mass is meant for seekers, but does not promise all the answers.

Saturday, November 15, 8pm
Fort Massey Church, 5303 Tobin Street
To reserve a seat:

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