The latest production to unfold at Munster's Theatre at the Center is essentially a comedy with serious undertones.
"The Tin Woman," written by Sean Grennan, runs through Aug. 13 at TATC. The play was inspired by a true story that was documented in a magazine article which playwright Grennan's sister relayed to him.
The play tells the story of a woman who has a heart transplant, what she goes through afterward and her experiences meeting the donor family.
Starring as heart recipient Joy is Erin Noel Grennan, playwright Sean's sister, who encouraged her brother to write the story. Actress Grennan does a fine job portraying character Joy whose emotions are akin to a real rollercoaster ride throughout the play.
Doogin Brown is Jack, the young man whose heart Joy received. Brown has limited speaking parts throughout the production as he's actually merely on stage in the shadows. Since he's already deceased at the beginning of the play, the character watches as his family and Joy go through their own individual heartaches.
Annabel Armor as Jack's mother Alice offers the strongest and most moving performance in the show. She and Steve Pickering, who plays her husband Hank interact well as a distraught married couple having great difficulties dealing with their son's death.
Jeri Marshall, portraying the dual roles Darla and the nurse, puts a humorous spin on her characters and garners many laughs. Kayla Kennedy, who's performed often at Theatre at the Center, plays Sammy, Jack's flaky sister, who's also having a hard time after losing Jack.
While "The Tin Woman" had a slow start, taking awhile to get into the story, the play's second act was much more satisfying and really tugged at the heart. Also, in the beginning, it took awhile not to be distracted by the constant vision of "silent" character Jack on stage.
Later on in Act II, though, Jack's presence didn't distract and it was interesting to watch his reactions to what the other characters said and did.
The well-written script for "The Tin Woman" features a number of comedic scenes and lines that people expect from a Grennan work. The show is directed by TATC artistic director Linda Fortunato.
FYI: "The Tin Woman" continues through Aug. 13 at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster. Tickets are $40 to $44. Call 219-836-3255 or visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com