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News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 29, 2014
Anne Hutchinson on trial in Deer Isle

The Trial of Anne Hutchinson, a new play written and directed by Gary Vencill, will receive a staged reading on Wednesday, June 4, at 7 p.m. at St. Brendan’s Episcopal Church, Route 15, North Deer Isle. With a cast of nearly 30, the play recreates the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 where Anne Hutchinson, one of the first significant dissenters in American history, stood trial, according to a news release.

Vencill was pastor of the United Methodist Church, Stonington, for 16 years. He is recognized as a writer and teller of stories as well as a director of storytelling workshops. His short play Real Time? was produced at the Stonington Opera House in 2010.

Hutchinson represents the voice of individual conscience against the imposition of one religious and political ideology on the whole community. Speaking her truth to power at whatever cost, she is sometimes referred to as the American Joan of Arc. Her voice rings like a clarion bell in the silence imposed on women in 17th century society. Her banishment signals the beginning of the long decline of Christianity in New England.

The play is based on a transcript of the trial and introduces three female voices and a women’s chorus in order to “provide a critical perspective on the ideology of patriarchy that provides the foundational premise of the trial.”

The public is invited to attend; there is no charge. An open discussion with Vencill and the cast will follow the reading. Refreshments will be served. Information:, or 348-6240.