Danna Swanenberg (left) and Kimberly Strong rehearse for Grace and Glorie.
John Sams decided to direct Grace and Glorie at Keizer Homegrown Theatre for two reasons: it speaks to him personally because he knows the character of Grace well and because the play is so well written it can transition from stage to screen easily.
Sams’ parents came out of Appalachia to try to find a better life during the Depression.
“A lot of what I see in Grace are things that bring truth to me with both my parents and the people from that region,” said Sams.
Grace and Glorie, written by Tom Ziegler tells the story of an elderly woman living in the deep woods of Appalachia, who has just been released from the hospital as a hopeless case; her doctor said she has two weeks to live. Glorie, with a Harvard MBA, moved to the area when her husband was transferred from New York City. She volunteers as a hospice care worker to help Grace face her life’s end.
The two-character play is a staged reading with a full set and costumes.
Danna Swanenberg plays Glorie. It is her second appearance on the Keizer Homegrown stage since she played in Quality of Life last year.
Kimberly Strong, making her Keizer debut, plays Grace.
“She’s a cantankerous old woman, ornery. I can relate to the character quite well, I took care of my grandmother and mother until the end,” said Strong.
Swanenberg said the show has a lot of elements: humor, heart, drama and conflicts.
“It deals with universal themes that appeal to many different people, it asks the big questions: what is my purpose?,” she said.
Grace and Glorie opens Wednesday, Sept. 11, and runs through Saturday, Sept. 14; all performances are at 7 p.m. at Keizer Homegrown Theatre in the Keizer Cultural Center at 980 Chemawa Road N.E. Tickets cost $10; admission is free for those with an Oregon Trail Card.