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December 05, 2016
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‘struck’ at the NACL; This time, it’s personal

Tannis Kowalchuk with Brett Keyser appear in the finale of “struck.”
Photo by Stephen Arnold

“Even though the play is based on a real-life event, it has become much larger than that,” she explained. “It is by far our biggest and most expensive production to date, and employs a profound multimedia experience. This show would be impossible without the expertise of the technicians and the creative input of everyone involved. “

The play takes place “in those moments between life and death and explores how our brains can save us from actually dying.” Keyser’s character “represents a part of my brain,” she explained, “and serves to answer the questions that are at the heart of the experience: what happened to my brain, what is my new brain like, and who am I now?”

Kowalchuk describes Keyser’s character as an “otherworldly representation of energy” manifested during the show and suggests that without the loving energy of those around her—“metaphysical, psychic, prayer-based and physical”—her recovery would not have been possible. “I could feel that it was a spiritual awakening,” she said.

Kowalchuk points out that last year alone, 800,000 Americans suffered strokes, many of which were fatal, and that everyone can relate to “struck” in one form or another. “We all have, or love someone, who has issues” she said.

“This experience has made me more aware of others. I chose to express myself in this way because it’s who I am. If I were a painter, or a pianist, or a carpenter, the artistic expression would have taken that form. I’m not sorry that it happened,” Kowalchuk said in conclusion. “I’ve learned so much about myself and those around me and it’s heightened my awareness of how truly special a gift each and every day is.”

Ultimately, “struck” is a unique, intimate look inside a personal experience that might ask more universal questions than it answers. Kowalchuk and company are excited to share this story with their audience and invite dialogue from those who attend. The “struck” premiere opens at the NACL on May 24 and runs through June 2.

The NACL is “artist-run” and defines itself as a “laboratory theatre.” Its mission is “to cultivate the rigorous exploration of actor-generated theatre as an ever-evolving art form.” For reservations and information, visit www.nacl.org, or call 845/557-0694.