Can one person change the world? Owen Meany believes he is an instrument of the divine. As he and his best friend John navigate the turbulent America of the 1960s, Owen pulls the strings of a plan invisible to everyone but him and – perhaps – God. Pacific Theatre is proud to present Ensemble Theatre Company’s production of A Prayer For Owen Meany. The seventeen person cast will transport audiences from the suburban streets of post-war America to the turbulence of Vietnam, led by Chris Lam as Owen and Tariq Leslie as his best friend John Wheelwright.
Owen is a supremely challenging role for any actor – in John Irving’s novel, his voice is childishly high and rendered ALL IN CAPITALS throughout the story to indicate its abrasiveness. In fact, prior to seeing Chris Lam’s performance, Pacific Theatre’s Artistic Director Ron Reed had considered the part unplayable. When Ensemble Theatre Company first staged the play in the summer of 2017, Lam knew he was taking on a mountain of a role. “Playing Owen can only be comparable to playing the Shakespeare greats; he is mythic, prophetic, arresting and otherworldly,” said Lam. “As a person who is pretty much agnostic, I find that the questions of belief, faith and real compassion are truly scrutinized in this play – it couldn’t be more timely for 2018.” As Owen navigates the tapestry of American foreign policy and John’s own faith wavers, the play hurtles towards the climax Owen predicted for himself.
Director Ian Farthing, who also helmed the Ensemble production, is no stranger to Pacific Theatre: he directed last spring’s Bar Mitzvah Boy and performed as C.S. Lewis in Ron Reed’s Tolkien. “If ever there was a play that was a perfect fit for Pacific Theatre’s mandate, it’s Owen Meany,” said Farthing. “It’s a story of faith, friendship and an unlikely vessel to fulfill a divine prophecy. It’s also the story of how one person can make a difference in the world – a message that truly resonates in our current political climate.”
A Prayer For Owen Meany opens Friday, January 18th and runs until February 9th at Pacific Theatre.
“An epic tale – Owen Meany soars.”
“The play offers something rare – a seductive, consoling vision of a world with miracles, not lost to God.”
“A superb story of friendship and faith, beautifully told.”
Directed by Ian Farthing. Featuring Chris Lam, Tariq Leslie, Tanja Dixon-Warren, James Gill, Alysson Hall, Lindsay Nelson, Christine Reinfort, Kenneth Tynan, David Wallace, Rebecca Walters, Francis Winter, and Shelby Wyminga. Assistant Direction by Rick Colhoun. Lighting Design by Patrick Smith. Costume Design by Julie White. Sound Design by Rick Colhoun. Stage Management by Samantha Hatch. Assistant Stage Management by Glory Kinoshta.
Media release and images provided by Julia Lank, Pacific Theatre.