Theatre of the Beat writes play for MCC Manitoba’s 50th anniversary

The Forks and the Road to premiere on October 23

October 14, 2014 | Young Voices | Volume 18 Issue 21
Rachel Bergen | Young Voices Co-editor
Winnipeg, Man.

A 50th wedding anniversary traditionally calls for a gift of gold, but Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba is getting something a little different for their 50th anniversary. Theatre of the Beat is preparing a play in honour of the relief and development organization.

The play is called The Forks and the Road. It’s a play that celebrates MCC Manitoba’s journey over the past 50 years. Through the stories of Anne, Campbell and Perry, themes of thrift, refugee resettlement, creation care, indigenous relations and mediation will come to life. The relationships between the characters become a portrayal of people working for justice and dignity.

The Forks and the Road is a fictional tale, but it’s based on true MCC Manitoba stories.

Rebecca Steiner, 25, did the bulk of the writing and dramaturgy for The Forks and the Road. The Theatre of the Beat team got together over Skype for brainstorming and edits.

She says the play is for everyone—staunch supporters of MCC’s relief and development work and those who aren’t familiar with it.

“It takes the audience on a journey into the lives of three very different people, who learn about what doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly means in their contexts,” she says.

It will be the first time Theatre of the Beat, which is based in Ontario, will exclusively premiere and produce for Manitoba.

Steiner says their main goal is to share what good work MCC Manitoba has been doing for the last half-century.

“One way to make history relevant—especially to younger generations—is to remember the past, while also looking into the future. We hope people of all ages will see themselves in the characters and that the play will newly inspire people to get behind MCC Manitoba,” Steiner says.

Steiner is originally from Stouffville, Ont., but recently moved to Winnipeg in July with her husband. She just started attending Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship.

Before moving to Manitoba, Steiner got to know MCC Ontario well by volunteering at a thrift shop, participating in international learning tours, and serving on an MCC board.

“Getting to know MCC Manitoba through working on this play has definitely given me an appreciation for Manitoba’s character and interests. It’s been a nice way to get to know this new province I’m learning to call home,” she says.

And working on the play has helped Steiner feel more at home. “It’s been like getting to know a family member who has a familiar personality and character. It’s neat to see some of the unique programs that have emerged in Manitoba, reflected by the prairie context,” she adds.

The Forks and the Road is featuring local Manitoba Mennonite actors and stagehands. Many of them are young adults.   

Terri-Lynn Friesen, 25, is one of the actors. She plays three characters in The Forks and the Road. One of her characters, Anne, manages an MCC Thrift store.   

Most of Friesen’s experiences with MCC Manitoba revolve around thrift shopping. “So many of her monologues speak directly of what I experienced in real life,” Friesen says.

She’s excited to celebrate MCC Manitoba’s good work in the community and the world while acting with other believers, she adds.

The Forks and the Road opens in Gretna on October 23, and continues on to Winnipeg, Steinbach, and Brandon for the next three days.

Theatre goers can also look forward to a unique music, poetry, or choir performances from local artists in each city.

--Posted Oct. 14, 2014


Thursday, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. - Buhler Hall, Gretna

Friday, Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m. - Gas Station Theatre, Winnipeg

Saturday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. - Steinbach Bible College, Steinbach

Sunday, Oct. 26, 3:00 p.m. - Lorne Watson Hall, Brandon

Call MCC Manitoba at (204) 261-6381 for information on ticket purchase and reservations.

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