Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beyond the Stage

Beyond the Stage

By Tom Wachunas

What fuels my passion for live theatre is just that – it’s live. A story unfolding in real time, with real people pouring their hearts, minds, and bodies into an extended moment, all in the genuine hope that we as audience will in turn be carried into the moment with them. Live…but not life.

Life doesn’t unfold with pre-set lights illuminating only what we’re supposed to see, or with people costumed just so, telling us only what we’re supposed to hear from a memorized script. Life doesn’t happen on a raised proscenium stage at a safe, respectful distance from us. Life demands that we NOT sit quietly in place like so many witnesses predisposed to being “entertained” or otherwise waiting to get our money’s worth.

Art isn’t life. But I can’t imagine life without it. The best art inspires, informs, enhances life. It allows us to celebrate and praise what’s true, beautiful, and noble in our lives. Or to realize what’s not. More important, it allows us to praise God. Or to petition him.

And so it is that on this eve of the opening of “Annie” (on Friday, May 21) at the Players Guild Theatre, I want to share with you a self- explanatory press release. It refers to the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio. Their website is

It is a place where real people pour themselves not into extended moments, but into the very lives of children, all in the genuine desire for those children to be blessed with – and witnesses to – joy and hope. I will only add here my gratitude to all the folks at The Players Guild Theatre for their vision and courage, and for their blessing us by their asking.

What follows is the press release in its entirety.

May 17th, 2010 contact Joshua Erichsen 330 – 453 -7619 ext. 501


‘Orphans’ changing the lives of children on the margins, one performance at a time.

CANTON, OH- The Players Guild Theatre’s production of “Annie” will benefit Annie’s modern day counterparts – children in foster care who need permanent, safe, and loving homes. The Players Guild Theatre has partnered with the Christian Children’s Home of Ohio to make a difference in the lives of the thousands of children, in our and the surrounding communities, longing for a new ‘family’. At each performance, the Players Guild Theatre will be accepting donations to assist the passionate endeavors at the Children’s Home. 100% of all money raised through these donations will be used to support new foster care initiatives. CCHO believes that every child is precious, has unique individual needs, and while there, each child will thrive in a loving environment with individual attention and care. For over 40 years, CCHO has been bringing healing to hurting children and families, in His name, since 1969. The Children’s Home is licensed by the State of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health, and nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation.

The Players Guild Theatre’s production of “ANNIE” is still a musical that is meant to stimulate and entertain. However, “ANNIE” has become a viable and powerful vehicle to invest into the lives of children and families outside the theatre walls. This production is poised to make a difference in the lives of those children who being an ‘orphan’ isn’t about singing and dancing and pillow fights. It’s their reality. As a one of the longest running community based organizations in Stark County, it is only fitting that the impact happening ‘on-stage’ radiates on a much larger scale ‘off-stage’.

The Players Guild Theatre, currently celebrating its 78th season, is a volunteer-based, professionally staffed theatre presenting staged productions which stimulate, enhance, and uplift the quality of life for both its audiences and volunteers. The Players Guild also exists to offer instruction in theatre arts through production experience, classes, workshops, special programming and outreach activities. At the Players Guild Theatre, volunteers work side by side with professionals in order to maintain the highest standards of production, encourage individual creativity, and enhance their understanding and appreciation of live theatre.

Photo: “Christ and the Children” by Carl Heinrich Bloch, oil, 19th century

1 comment:

martha_wachunas said...

Kudos to you for bringing to attention what the Players Guild is doing for the children. God is working in you Tom and I'm blessed to be walking beside you.