Cottonwood Community Drama is coming down to the final rehearsals before opening night of "The Tin Woman" by Sean Grennan at Buhler Hall in Gretna November 23rd through 25th. The play has a more serious tone than some of the group's recent performances, with the topic of organ donation a central theme throughout the production... from both the perspective of the donor's family and the transplant recipient.
Lisa Klassen is playing Joy, the thirty-something graphic artist who is the recipient of a heart transplant, and Megan Fehr plays her best friend Darla, as well as a nurse who cares for Joy.
"She's very different than I am," shared Klassen when the duo dropped by the CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show. "Joy is a bit sarcastic, and I am not naturally sarcastic. I know Megan will vote for the fact I was probably most nervous about delivering her sarcastic lines. She's got kind of a quirky sense of humour you either get or you don't, but overall she's been very relatable in other ways to play."
"Darla is Joyce's best friend," explained Fehr. "She's very exuberant, very big personality, very quirky and very loud. That's been a bit of a challenge for me, because that's not my personality. I'm a little more quiet and introverted, so it's been fun to take on her big personality."
There are just six performers in the cast, which is relatively small for a Cottonwood production.
"It's been powerful, I would say, working together with such a small cast," said Klassen. "It brings this really tight knit community and connection. You build trust with one another, because it's such a small scale, and because that trust is built, it allows oneself to really pull from within those deep emotions that need to be portrayed when telling a story that carries as much weight as this one does. Having the confidence of your cast to go there is stretching, growing and rewarding all at once."
With the mature themes contained within The Tin Woman, Fehr noted it is a hard-hitting play.
"There's certainly humour involved, and lots of fun bits, but it's very emotional," noted Fehr. "It's so interesting to take a step into these into these stories we maybe don't think about all the time, even though we have people in the community who have experienced this in their own lives. It's been very rewarding to sit down, and look at these these characters, and connect them to our own people in our community, and what they have maybe been going through.."
Klassen echoed that sentiment.
"The one thing I've really enjoyed about this script is this story itself is bigger than just entertainment," she said. "This time around, there's a bigger purpose, a bigger 'why' as we raise awareness about organ donation. Having community members come out every night who have been recipients, it's a pretty powerful thing. You don't often get to hear those stories, and so getting a chance to highlight that, and to be able to bring entertainment with a bigger meaning, is something that's really special to be a part of."
"My hope is people leave with a reminder life is not to be taken for granted," added Klassen when asked to reflect on what she hoped audiences will take away from the performance. "Life's too short to not say I love you. Life's too short to not forgive, or allow yourself to heal, and life's too short to not enjoy living it."
You can listen to Lisa and Megan's conversation with CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Co-Host Chris Sumner, below. You can also mind the official synopsis of The Tin Woman.
Instead of relishing life after her heart transplant, Joy enters a downward spiral, unsure whether she truly deserves a second chance. Meanwhile, Alice and Hank mourn the loss of their son, Jack, whose heart was used to save Joy. At a friend's urging, Joy tracks down Jack's family to find closure. But are Alice, Hank, and their daughter Sammy ready to accept Jack's death? Based on a true story, The Tin Woman uses humor and pathos to explore loss, family, and what it means to be given a new life.
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