From left: Brady Winter, Clare Ganton, Ryan Brenneis and Don McGeragle OFM rehearse The Power of Gossip, a song and scene from Act Two of Lost Apostle. – Submitted Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

An 11-year-old musical is returning for a three-day run to aid the West Sturgeon Aging In Place Foundation next month, running Mar. 3 to 5 at the Arden Theatre in St. Albert.

Lost Apostle by Sandra Brenneis, composer of Mary’s Veil and The Park Bench, was originally performed in 2005. Brenneis has adapted and revised the updated production to explore themes faced in the modern world, adding new characters and five new songs.

Lost Apostle begins in the time of Christ and details the hopes, passions, and struggles of four of Christ’s followers: Peter, Judas, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany.

The Second Act takes place in the present day. The audience is introduced to Aaron, Tevy, and Rebecca, characters also struggling to find meaning, acceptance, and hope, but who are vulnerable to the enticements of money, power, and judgment.

Brenneis said the inspirational music and message of Lost Apostle is even more relevant today than 11 years ago when it was originally performed.

“Eleven years ago I was hoping Lost Apostle would encourage the audience to see that humanity can thrive when we live from a place of love. And at that time it would have been my hope that 11 years later the world would be more loving, kind and balanced,” Brenneis said.

“However, today it feels to me that we are less connected to each other, less tolerant of our differences and so bombarded with the demands of our lives that we feel ‘lost’ from any sense of deep purpose or meaning. You just have to log into Facebook or other social media to see how quickly people are to judge each other, not in healthy disagreement but with cruelty. It seems that even a call for tolerance is now met with strong objection.”

Brenneis went on to say that at the root of all of the angst and stress are the same three characters Lost Apostle presented 11 years ago: judgment, power, and money.

“Those three constructs keep us separate from each other and without any real anchor,” she said. “Though it wasn’t my intention to rewrite much of the play—it felt necessary to change a large part of the Second Act to represent how those three characters are alive and well in the present day, and enticing each of us to lose our integrity, compassion, and generosity.”

The composer said although many of the cast are members of the choir of St. Peter’s Church in Villeneuve, there are several others members in the group.

“We have a cast 37 actors and nine musicians, and with our additional crew, we are a group of 52 people – ranging in age from 6 to over 70 years old,” she said. “Many of us are blood-related, but by the end of any season, we all feel like family.”

Beyond helping unite a cast and crew into a family and help audience members navigate modern living, the four-show production will once again support West Sturgeon Aging In Place Foundation.

“West Country Hearth is just one example of a beautiful community. For our group, it is important to keep our seniors close to their families in a vibrant, thriving home where they can continue to be important members of the ‘village’ that helps raise our children. Our seniors are [a] vital part of who we are, so supporting WCH keeps us whole,” Brenneis said.

“This year we are working to help with the cost of the Dementia Wing which has doubled in capacity since our last addition. It seems that more of our families have experienced loss associated with having a family member who struggles with Dementia, so ensuring loving care of our Harmony Haven residents is important to all of us.”

Lost Apostle takes place at the Arden Theatre Mar. 3, at 7:30 p.m., Mar. 4 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Mar. 5 at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are $25 per person and available online at www.sandrabrenneis.com or by contacting Simonne Sheehan at 780-458-0908.

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