A lifetime of memories were brought back to life during a trio of performances of They're Playing Our Song over this past weekend.
Crafted from the real life stories of residents of Swift Current's Riverview Village Estates, the two act play features memories and music from a bygone age. However, the live acting presentation by the seniors, complemented by the acting and musical talents of students from Millar College of the Bible, helped keep these precious memories alive.
The play featured a mix of memories of music of life growing up on the prairies. There were familiar stories of one-room schools, party lines, the importance of horses to farm life, and how tough it was living through the Dirty 30s and World War II. But there were also touching personal stories of togetherness and loss told through monologues, and memories of having to part with things that were so important over the years.
Told from the perspective of a gathering around a friendly coffee table, half of the stage was reserved for the Millar College students pantomiming the stories to add an extra measure of reality to them. The live music was also a special touch to the evening, sharing music which matched the themes of the stories.
Timothy Lenko steeped into the co-directing roll early into the workshop and rehearsal process in mid January when Kathy Covert fell ill and could not serve as director. At that point the script was complete and much of the music was selected, but there was still work needed to pull the production together.
"These stories are treasures. Treasures just like the people who lived them and are now telling them to us. And I do count it a great privilege to be part of preserving them and sharing them," Lenko admitted after the opening night Dinner Theatre presentation on Feb. 28. "There's just such a depth to their meaning, and a depth to the value of all that is in this project.
As a recent graduate of Millar College, he admits that today's younger generation owes a huge debt of gratitude to seniors who sacrificed so much over the years so that we could have what we enjoy today.
"I really, really do hope that it inspires gratitude. I know it has in me. And I really hope that it inspires gratitude in our students, in our community. Even in our seniors, as they are now able to dive into this, or watch their peers dive into this, and see the whole picture of all that has come before."