Zion Theatre Company Presents The Opposing Wheel
Zion Theatre Company will be presenting national award winning playwright Mahonri Stewart’s new play The Opposing Wheel on September 2, 3, 5, 9 and 10 at 8pm, at the Castle Outdoor Amphitheatre, 1300 East Center Street (near Seven Peaks, above the State Hospital).
The Opposing Wheel is a play where the modern meets the medieval, as 21st century adventurers encounter a woman named Magdalena Devonshire trapped in a castle by an ancient enchantment. As the story progresses, they encounter devils, enchantresses, and figures of legend. The play is a funny, romantic, and redemptive fantasy–a romp through myth, miracle and magic. Playwright Stewart said that the influences that inspired the play were numerous, “There’s the obvious classical influences in a play dealing with these kinds of legends–Arthurian mythology, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poetry, pre-Raphaelite art. But then there are other inspirations I’ve incorporated, like C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, and even really modern things like the recent run of Doctor Who on BBC. And like nearly all my plays, there’s a strong spiritual subtext.”
The director of the play Heather Jones was surprised at first by the seemingly conflicting elements that were matched together in the play, “It’s what would happen if Dr. Who, Indiana Jones, and Captain Malcolm Reynolds got together to tell a tale. I’m going to be honest ““ the first time I read this script I thought, “˜What is Mahonri thinking?’ A beautiful pagan locked in a tower, a returned missionary, an odd looking Brit with a cup, [characters reminiscent of] “˜Screwtape’ and “˜Wormwood’, a very persuasive feminist, and a treasure hunt. But nothing really turns out the way you expect. It’s pretty difficult to figure out who the real heroes are because everyone has goodness and everyone has flaws. It’s a whole new reality that isn’t so hard to believe if you allow yourself to consider all the possibilities. And even if you don’t, it’s still an amusing and touching, modern fairy tale.”
The actors within the play mentioned how much they enjoy the characters in the play. Jyllian Petrie, who plays Magdalena “Maggie” Devonshire said, “I really enjoy playing Maggie, she’s not just your everyday, ordinary, female, romantic lead. She’s strong, spunky, fun, and adventurous, she also doesn’t just sit back and watch a fight, she’s ready to jump in and protect the ones she loves. Her character has so much depth to her, she has so much courage for what she’s been through. She’s ready to break free from her loneliness, see the world, and fall in love.”
One of the themes that crops up throughout the play deals with the sometimes tense relationship between men and women. Modern ideas like feminism come in direct conflict with medieval ideas like chivalry. Morgan le Fey, perhaps the character who is the strongest proponent of women’s issues in the play, is played by Jamie Denison. Denison had this to say about Stewart’s handling of women’s issues and female characters, “Something I love about this show is the fact that the writer has made all the women so strong, there is not one weak woman in the whole show, even the small parts are so well done. It is something that is missing from the theatre world today and I’m happy that Stewart has made it a point to make such strong women characters in all of his shows.”
Tickets for the show are $12 for general public and $10 for students, educators, seniors, and veterans. Tickets can be purchased or reserved at www.ziontheatrecompany.com, or bought at the door.