Using the ancient practice of fixed hour prayer observed by the Abrahamic faith traditions, Praying the Hours personifies each hour into a character to tell a story of a 24-hour day. In the feature film, Traveling Man visits with each of eight friends on the day of his accidental death, and—as he crosses over from this life into the next—sees life anew from the perspective of eternity. In the eight short films that expand the project, the story of each hour is told in more detail.
Here, Director Lauralee Farrer comments on the casting of Liz Montgomery as the hour called Terce in “The Story of the Single Mother.” Terce is the name of the mid-morning hour of prayer in the Benedictine tradition.
The story of the single mother is one that Liz is capable of portraying both as an actress and a woman—partly from her own life and partly an amalgam of characters she and the story writers have known. Liz is a perfect intercessor for so many whose lives have taken a turn early on that they did not expect—a turn that often defines the rest of their journeys.
Liz had a natural gift for acting since she was very young, playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in the eighth grade. Years later, she moved to Los Angeles from Texas to study acting and earn her BFA from the University of Southern California. Married to soul artist Dominick Montgomery, Liz has a five-year old son and a little girl due to be born in December, and is my niece.
Liz shines in the arena of acting she most enjoys—classical theater. She has played both lead and supporting roles in plays such as The Crucible, Romeo and Juliet, Medea, and Dangerous Liaisons, and responds to the challenge of language and movement with an ease that has accompanied her on stage since her youth. She played a supporting role in the 2011 romantic comedy Not That Funny. Also a musician, Liz is a solo artist who enjoyed a brief stint in LA local clubs before taking a hiatus to be a mother.
Liz’s greatest strength in this role, and the reason why she was at the top of a very short list, is her tenderness and depth of understanding toward the character, and the temperament she shares with Terce. Capable of a kind of worship that is rare, Liz has a natural faith that is both fiercely independent and yet soft. The virtue of this hour is to stop briefly, even in the best of working rhythms, and to say “this work is not my purpose. My purpose is to praise God.”
still photos by Jordan McMahon