Langley director takes on war, family drama

Shannon Braithwaite is at the helm of Abbotsford’s Gallery 7, 20th anniversary production, Quiet in the Land

Gallery 7 Theatre in Abbotsford is marking its 20th anniversary by re-staging Quiet in the Land

War, forgiveness, faith, tradition, fathers and sons. These are just some of the themes that form the heart of Gallery 7 Theatre’s next production of their 20th anniversary season, Quiet in the Land, written by Canadian playwright, Ann Chislett and directed by Langley’s Shannon Braithwaite.

“We produced this play 10 years ago,” explains Ken Hildebrandt, Gallery 7 Theatre’s artistic director. 

“It was very popular then with audiences, especially with members of the Mennonite community. 

“This year being our 20th anniversary, I thought it only fitting that we go back to our roots as a theatre and re-mount this play with a refreshed look and vision.”

A prodigal son story set in a Canadian Amish community during the First World War, Quiet in the Land explores the complexities of tradition and faith in an ever changing world. 

Yock Bauman can’t comprehend how his strict father can stand idly by while war rages on in Europe. Shunning the pacifist beliefs of his community, Yock enlists in the military where he soon becomes a hero to the nation, but an outcast to his own community. Having been powerfully affected by the horrors of battle, Yock returns to his father, but soon finds he has lost more than he could have imagined.

“I’m curious to see how the production speaks to our current world and cultural realities,” muses Hildebrandt. 

“Though much has changed in the past 10 years, a lot hasn’t. We still deal with war, relationships, faith, traditions … all those universal things that make up the human experience. 

“It’ll be interesting to see what new truths this re-envisioned production brings to the surface.”

The cast of Quiet in the Land is made up of performers from through-out the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack. Playing the central character of Yock Bauman, the conflicted young Amish man struggling to balance his faith with world events, is newcomer, Benjamin Wert. His stalwart and sometimes hard-nosed father, who is determined to protect the Amish community’s faith and simple way of life, will be played by Jay Danziger.

Yock’s love interest, Katie Brubacher, will be played by Megan Mackenzie and his best friend, Menno, will be played by Kenzie Hall. Veteran performers Larry Hamm and Tracey Anderton, will play Katie’s father and mother respectively. Rounding out the cast are Joshua Braun, Karin Gregory, Derek Koch, Sierra Soca, Danae Stark, Aldergrove’s Richard Toots, Mariah van Herwaarden and Becky Wiebe.

Making her directorial debut with Quiet in the Land, Braithwaite recently completed a Masters Degree from Royal Holloway University of London and is a graduate of the Trinity Western University’s Theatre program and the Canadian National Voice Intensive program. 

Quiet in the Land runs March 4 and 5, 10 to 12, and 17 to 19, at 7:30 p.m. with additional discounted matinees on March 5 and 12 at 2 p.m. at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Rd., Abbotsford. 

Tickets for evening performances are $16 adults; $14 seniors (65+) and students; $13 Groups (10 or more) and $9 for children 12 and under. Tickets for matinee performances are $12 General and $9 for children 12 and under.  They can be purchased at the House of James, 2743 Emerson St., Abbotsford or by calling 604-852-3701 or toll free at 1-800-665-8828.

For complete details on Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of Quiet in the Land and the rest of the 2010/2011 20th anniversary theatre season, please visit the theatre’s website at www.gallery7theatre.com.

 

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