Theatre Sarnia production bringing laughter and tears to Imperial Theatre stage

'Strangers Among Us' opens at the Imperial Theatre on February 2

Theatre Sarnia’s upcoming show at the Imperial Theatre is promising audiences a range of emotions.

“It’s a great story,” said Norm Francoeur, the director of Strangers Among Us. “The characters will make you laugh and cry. Listening to some of their portrayals will tweak at your heartstrings.”

“It’s a story about two people. They meet and they’re developing Alzheimer’s,” said Francoeur. “They go into a facility and it’s about how their families react to the news and cope with different things.”

“There’s some humour, some tears. It takes you through the whole gamut of emotions,” said Francoeur. “Hopefully it will bring you some hope. Some people will find it very cathartic to watch some of this.”

Francoeur said about 15 years ago he and his wife performed in a production of Strangers Among Us out west.

“I still remember the feeling that show left with me long after I forgot all the lines,” he said.

“I wanted to bring that feeling to the people of Sarnia,” Francoeur said. “It’s a deep emotional tie.’

While Francoeur only experienced the play from one perspective acting, he said directing the play has given him a larger appreciation for all 10 characters.

“The whole picture is a better experience,” he said.

“There’s ten characters and each one has their moment to shine.”

Francoeur said the show offers a glimpse to what some families experience when faced with Alzheimer’s and the cast met with the educational coordinator from the local Alzheimer’s Society to ensure the show wasn’t perpetuating caricatures of the disease.

“It opens your eyes to some things,” he said. “We don’t portray everything because everyone’s experience with Alzheimer’s can be different.”

The cast met for three hours thrice weekly and practiced lines at home to prepare for the 90-minute show.

“It’s been an absolute joy,” Francoeur said about directing the play. “Everyone is so committed.”

Strangers Among Us premiers at the Imperial Theatre Friday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. Shows follow February 3 at 7:30 p.m., February 4 at 2 p.m., and February 7 to 10 all at 7:30 p.m.

Francoeur encourages everyone to get their tickets when they have the chance.

“This isn’t something you can say you’ll catch next week,” said Francoeur. “We’re here, we’re done, and we’re on to the next show. If you miss it, you miss something amazing.”

“You don’t need to go out to town to get the level of shows you might see somewhere else. It might be a community theatre, but the quality of shows is just incredible.”

Tickets can be purchased online, at the box office, or by calling the Imperial Theatre at 519-344-7469.

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