From death comes life.
Tomah’s Area Community Theatre will bring that theme to the stage starting Valentine’s Day.
ACT’s production of “The Tin Woman” is about an organ donor, Jack, a 36-year-old man whose heart was implanted into Joy and gave her a second shot at life. The play follows both Jack’s family trying to heal after his death and Joy and her turmoil following the heart transplant.
Director Christine Jacobsen said the play is based on a true story and deals with a multitude of emotions.
“There’s everything; there’s humor, so I hope that they laugh, and there may be some tear-jerking moments, so I hope that they may feel like they need to reach for a Kleenex,” she said. “There are some moments that may elicit some anger, and there’s just everything involved in this play. ... It’s real people, real humor and I can see myself in each person. It’s very heart-warming.”
Amanda Negaard, who plays Joy, said she likes how the story follows people and how they deal with life-changing events.
“I work in the mental health field myself, so I get the struggle that Joy is kind of going through — the whole idea that somebody that has totally come to grips with the fact that they’re going to die and is then given this second life and is almost scared of messing it up,” Negaard said. “(I also like) the fact that it mirrors the whole idea of this family learning how to deal with the grief of losing their son. It’s an amazing story.”
Renee Stroh, who plays Alice, Jack’s mom, also enjoys that the play follows two different sides of a story.
“I enjoy that it is based on a true story and that tragedy can truly be turned into joy,” she said. “In my own personal life I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and this story is an amazing way of showing how we feel when we’re in the middle of a storm, good things can still happen.”
Cherie Lipp plays Darla, Joy’s hospital nurse and best friend. Darla tries to stop Joy from slipping into a depression, and Lipp said the situation is something people can relate to.
“I know a few people who have had transplants before, not heart transplants, but different transplants, so I think it’s relatable to people,” Lipp said. “It does have quite a few funny parts in it, so ... I think a lot of people will both laugh and cry. Hopefully not a lot of crying, but it is a heart-warming story.”
Kelse Gilson, who plays Jack’s sister, Sammy, hopes the audience can feel all the different emotions in the play.
“The sadness, the joy, the little silliness, it covers all spectrum of emotions, and I really think that the audience will be able to go through all the different phases, probably have a few tears, but also laughs and at the end of it leave feeling content and feeling good,” she said.
It’s an entertaining play, said Micah Joliet, who plays Jack’s father Hank — a curmudgeonly angry, old guy, who’s bitter about his son’s death.
“It’s a very good play; it’s very heartfelt but it’s also very clever and entertaining and enjoyable,” he said. “I hope that ... it tugs on their heartstrings while also it has elements of hilarity that I hope that they appreciate. I think that it’s going to be really entertaining.”