Two productions with powerful messages playing in town
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
Sioux Lookout residents may wish to mark their calendars to attend two stage productions being shown in the community next week.
On May 10, 11, and 12 Northern Lights Community Theatre (NLCT) will present, by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc, Jon Lonoff’s Skin Deep. The production, directed by Anita Webster, will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Queen Elizabeth District High School each evening.
A synopsis of the production, available at samuelfrench.com, informs, “In Skin Deep, a large, lovable, lonely-heart, named Maureen Mulligan, gives romance one last shot on a blind-date with sweet awkward Joseph Spinelli; she’s learned to pepper her speech with jokes to hide insecurities about her weight and appearance, while he’s almost dangerously forthright, saying everything that comes to his mind. They both know they’re perfect for each other, and in time they come to admit it.
“They were set up on the date by Maureen’s sister Sheila and her husband Squire, who are having problems of their own: Sheila undergoes a non-stop series of cosmetic surgeries to hang onto the attractive and much-desired Squire, who may or may not have long ago held designs on Maureen, who introduced him to Sheila. With Maureen particularly vulnerable to both hurting and being hurt, the time is ripe for all these unspoken issues to bubble to the surface.”
Mary MacKenzie, NLCT board of directors chair and producer of Skin Deep, explained board members picked the production due to its poignancy, cleverness, humour, and relatability.
The production will consist of a cast of four; two men and two women.
NLCT veterans Karen Boyko and George Hoggarth will star in the production, along with Liz Ward and Jack Morales, both of whom are making their acting debuts with NLCT.
The two hour production will include an intermission with a concession available.
NLCT will operate the concession, along with Sioux Looks Out For Paws.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and seniors, and 20 per cent off for NLCT members. Tickets are available at DJ’s Gas Bar and at the door.
This will be NLCT’s eighth production.
“We’re always looking for volunteers, be it crew, cast, board members, directors,” MacKenzie added.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the local theatre company can contact Mary MacKenzie at 737-1719.
Also taking place on May 10, at 7 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and New Life Assembly have partnered to bring the production Solitary Refinement to town.
Presented by Voice of the Martyrs Canada, the professional production is on national tour of Canada highlighting stories from the persecuted church.
Voice of the Martyrs Canada describes the one man show as an immersive live stage experience based on the best-selling books of Richard Wurmbrand, and on persecution around the world today.
The description continues, “The script is written and performed by award-winning international artist Dennis J. Hassell, directed by triple Dora Award nominee Tom Carson (five nationally touring productions), with original music composed by Emmy-winner and renowned recording artist Tom Szczesniak.”
Voice of the Martyrs Canada further explains, “This presentation is in honour of The Voice of the Martyrs’ international founder, the late Richard Wurmbrand, whose life of dedicated service has been the catalyst of VOM’s ministry to the persecuted church.
“Back in 1945 Pastor Wurmbrand took a stand for Christ in Romania instead of declaring loyalty to the new Communist regime. Three years later, he paid the price for this decision when he was arrested by the secret police and imprisoned for a total of 14 years.
“Sabina (Wurmbrand) was arrested two years later, leaving their eight-year-old son, Mihai, without parents. While imprisoned, Richard envisioned a ministry that would focus on the plight of the persecuted church, raise a voice on its behalf, and provide encouragement and assistance to those suffering for their faith. In the mid-1960s, his dream became a reality. Then, in 1971, the initial office of The Voice of the Martyrs was founded in the United States.”
The production, which runs 75 minutes, is free to attend.
Good will offerings will be accepted, which will go to Voice of the Martyrs.
“Through my wife and my work with Voice of the Martyrs Canada, we brought it forward to the churches of Sioux Lookout and asked if they would support bringing it to Sioux Lookout,” explained Sioux Lookout resident John Bastone.
He and his wife Beth are the Voice of the Martyrs representatives for Northwestern Ontario.
Bastone and Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Pastor Nate Hochstetler don’t recommend taking young children to the production, which they both described as intense.
“The actor, Dennis Hassell, has really adopted the persona of Richard Wurmbrand during his imprisonment and you can see the intense suffering that he experienced. It’s a very moving story,” Bastone said.
“Right now, in over 50 countries, there are tens of thousands of Christians being persecuted for their faith – many giving their lives. The outstanding production of Solitary Refinement is just the right antidote for our complacency and ignorance. Actor Dennis Hassell portrays the compelling story of Richard Wurmbrand with a stunning performance. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don’t miss it,” Dave Toycen, Christian humanitarian, retired president/CEO World Vision Canada, said of the production.
“I think this helps open people’s eyes to the plight of many people around the world, not just Christians, but other people as well, who are being displaced, misused, so hopefully people will see that as something to take away from this production,” Hochstetler added.
Refreshments will be served following the production.