Titanic wasn’t the only thing going on last night (I love it when the city comes to life like this)–MTC’s newest main stage production The Shunning also opened.
Based on a narrative poem first published in the 80s by local publisher Turnstone Press, this play is about as close to home as it gets.
Peter Neufeld is undergoing a crisis of faith in his Mennonite community where he has been shunned by the church’s authority figures for his beliefs (or lack thereof).
Apparently, the practice of shunning was common amongst Mennonites as a means of punishment reserved for serious misdemeanors. The practice sees the punished isolated within his own community. Living amongst family and friends, Peter is an outsider–even his wife is forbidden from sharing his bed any longer.
Of course this shunning doesn’t just torment Peter, it haunts all of those that love him as well.
Throughout the production, Peter is torn between his wife, his brother and the reverend who is trying to save his soul.
It’s a dark and serious play that will keep you thinking. There are moments of humour, but those only serve to offset the somber tone of the rest of the production.
I found the set to be absolutely mesmerizing. They’ve created a Manitoba landscape that seems to go on forever with its soothing prairie tones–muted browns and yellows backdropped against a brilliant blue sky.
And I won’t give it away, but there is a twist at the end that I doubt you’ll see coming. I know I was completely shocked.
The Shunning runs until March 5 and tickets can be purchased through MTC.