Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Global Impactors’ ‘Tin Woman’ transplants loss, second chances

Thursday, May 11, 2017 by MAKENNA MASENHEIMER Special to The Press in Focus

“The Tin Woman” explores life, loss and second chances through the story of Joy, a heart-transplant recipient, and her relationship with the donor’s grieving family.

Global Impactors Group presents the 2015 comedy-drama by playwright Sean Grennan at 8 p.m. May 12, 13, 19 and 2 p.m. May 13 and 20, Macungie Institute, 510 E. Main St., Macungie. Proceeds benefit Gift of Life Family House.

Ryan MacNamara plays Jack, the deceased donor. His ghost is ever-present on stage. MacNamara says that the play reinforces the idea that life is short.

“We never know when it’s going to be over and if you love somebody, tell them immediately. If you want to give somebody a hug, do it right away, don’t put it aside.

“I hope that people will take away the preciousness of life and how much we mean to other people around us. It is to be taken hold of every second of the day and not taken for granted.”

Rachel Williams, who plays Joy, also hopes the show will leave an impact on the way one views relationships.

“When you walk away from someone or you’re saying goodbye to someone, even if you’re angry, just try to remember that it still could be that last moment. Always try to watch your temper and what you say to people and how you treat them.” says Williams.

Marian Barshinger, who plays Jack’s quirky sister, Sammy, agrees: “I hope audiences will treasure each other more and the relationships they have. That they will realize the impact that we can have on each other when we’re alive and the gift of life.”

Williams sees Joy as conflicted:

“My character doesn’t so much deal with the loss as having to accept something that she wasn’t prepared to accept. I watched interviews of people that had had [an organ transplant] and trying to deal with being prepared for one thing and you’re given a second chance that you weren’t really ready for.

“She’s very introspective. She’s almost closed-off emotionally from other people.”

Eric Hersch, who directs the play, says of Williams’ role: “On an emotional paradigm, she can understand the journey and she’s really bringing that to life.”

Hersch says that the role of Jack is difficult to portray.

“He has to find intention all the time on the stage. It’s that active listening and driving through his actions without being able to say anything. He finds some really great nuances.”

Strained family relationships come to a head when Joy visits, evoking memories of Jack.

“There are some really great confrontations. The fights in the play emulate conversations and fights we have with people in life: those really definitive arguments you have with your parents or your spouse or someone who has hurt you. I think watching that on stage kind of causes you to pause and reflect about the conversations you have with people in your life.” says Barshinger.

Although the play’s subject matter is serious, there are several lighthearted scenes.

“I love the moments that I have with the best friend character, Daryl, played by Brian Wendt. He’s so funny and so great. For a show that’s kind of heavy there is a lot of laughter in it and he provides so much of it,” Williams says.

A talk-back will be held after the May 13 performance with cast and crew. Sue Seidel, chairperson of Gift of Life’s Lehigh Valley Coalition, will be on the panel. Seidel’s son, Brian, was a donor 15 years ago following a motorcycle accident.

Tickets: GIGtheater.com; 484-891-1314