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NICHOLAS MERCER: The internal struggle

Meghan Greeley's new play “Hunger” can be seen in Corner Brook on May 8
Meghan Greeley's new play “Hunger” can be seen in Corner Brook on May 8 - Contributed

Meghan Greeley can get lost in her head sometimes. 

Subjects and items take control of the front part of her brain and refuse to let go. They have such a stranglehold on her thoughts that they can become all consuming.

They are the things that she often can't control and the questions that she keeps asking herself.

Those questions and concerns tend to find themselves on a piece of paper somewhere in the life of the 31-year-old from Corner Brook.

"I find that I often write about what scares me," Greeley said from her home in Montreal.

The Grenfell Campus theatre graduate takes the hypothetical questions bouncing around inside her head and turns them into works for the stage.

Amid the classical music and scores from musicals that she often writes, too, those question marks become sentences that turn into worlds.

Sometimes, they bring people into spaces they'd rather not exist in. People don't often think about the relationship between captive and captor as they did in Greeley's play “Kingdom,” nor do they think about the ulterior motives that can exist when people give so selflessly to their community, which is explored in “Hunger.”

Directed by Michael Waller, “Hunger” features a typical trophy family who take on the risk of hiding members of an oppressed group from the authorities.

Soon the story turns into darker territory as the true motivations behind these characters start to show. The saviours are revealed to be self-serving and their behaviour spirals into something less than human.

Greeley aims to explore the underbelly of the saviour or hero complex, and the idea that some people who make apparently selfless decisions for the betterment of others have ulterior motives.

In “Kingdom,” the author dealt with the relationship between captive and captor in respect to kidnappings and how their relationship starts evolving.

They're not great places to live in and Greeley tends to move in and out of these places in relatively short order with her first drafts. The editing and workshop process pulls her back in until it is ready to go onstage.

Prior to writing “Hunger,” Greeley remembers seeing something in the news about the abuse of Jewish children during the Holocaust.

That led her down the rabbit hole, so to speak, and she started consuming whatever information she could find on the subject.

Greeley wanted to question the nature of altruism and the idea of unselfishly concerning yourself with the welfare of others with “Hunger.”

While dark in its subject matter, the play isn't without humour.

Laughter is a survival mechanism for so many of us, it only makes sense it exists in Greeley's world. Often, people are able to push through a troubling time in their lives with a grin and a short laugh.

It is just enough to pull people out of the moroseness.

"I didn't want people to live in sadness," she said.

Art is a way for people to confront an issue they'd rather not be a part off. It triggers conversation and sparks ideas.

Greeley takes great pride in having a platform to address the questions she can't get out of her head.

It must be, in its own way, therapeutic. It allows her to get whatever she is feeling off her chest and out in the open.

Trust me when I say, that can be liberating.

“Hunger” is scheduled to hit the stage in Corner Brook on May 3 at 8 p.m. at the Arts and Culture Centre.

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