April is National Donate Life Month, and a Northeast Wisconsin theatre group is putting on a play with the goal of raising funds and awareness for the need for organ, eye, and tissue donation.
At the Oshkosh Grand Theater Tuesday evening, actors were rehearsing for “The Tin Woman.” The play, which is based on a true story, centers around a woman named Joy, who is a recent heart transplant recipient.
“She kind of has this crisis about it, that kind of, ‘did I deserve this second chance that I’m getting?’,” said actress Jill Knetter, who plays the role of Joy. “The feeling that someone died and that’s why you’re able to live is kind of hard on people.”
The play’s director, L. Douglas Bord-Pire, describes it as a dramedy, with both serious and comedic moments. He got the idea to do the play from a good friend of his, who recently passed on.
“When we started rehearsal, she had passed away from brain cancer,” Bord-Pire said. “So I like to think we have our guardian angel, that she watched over us on this production.”
As part of the research process, the actors met with transplant recipients to learn about their experience.
“It was really emotional, but it was really beautiful to kind of hear these stories on how these peoples’ lives were bettered by this process,” Knetter said.
At the play’s upcoming performances, attendees are able to enter raffles for gift baskets, the proceeds of which will go to non-profit Donate Life America. People will also be able to register as organ donors.
“We’re just kind of trying to spread this message that it changes peoples lives and it’s a really, really good thing to do,” Knetter said.
“It’s a very compelling story,” Bord-Pire said. “It’s gonna touch your heart. You’re gonna think, you’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna cry. I believe it’s a really beautiful story and I hope everybody comes to see it.”
“The Tin Woman” will have four performances at the Oshkosh Grand Theater – one each on Thursday and Friday, and two on Saturday. Ticket prices for the play range from $15-$25, and can be bought online or at the theater on performance night.