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Strength comes in all forms, as Stained Glass Theatre's newest production "Related Spaces" is set to convey Oct. 21.

The play features protagonist Renee, a strong, independent woman who is also missing something in her hardtack way of life. As she moves to a small New England town and begins restoration on its historic Stargazers Theatre, she finds God has His own restoration plans for her along with it.

With the production being part of the theater's "Season of Healing," show co-director Roger Martin said there are multiple forms of healing in the play that develop through a love story.

"It's a love story between a man and a woman but also about Renee trying to battle her inner self," Martin said. "In the process, she falls in love with the town."

The setting of "Related Spaces" harks back to writer Shellie R. Foltz' upbringing in the Ozarks, including a cast of supportive church ladies who come into Renee's life and introduce her to the strong women in the Bible. Will Pearson, a widowed father of a 15-year-old daughter, is head of the preservation society in the town and gives Renee the bad news that the walls of her loft apartment have to come down — which brings some of her walls down in the process.

"The title refers to walls that we put up between ourselves and other spaces and tearing down those walls to make the beauty of life better," Martin said. "The walls also come down in her heart."

The audition process brought some surprises for Martin and co-director Rhonda Myers.

In choosing Cindy Gearhart to play Renee, a single woman in her 30s, Martin said Gearhart's experience as a mother lends to the strength of the character, even though their life experiences are different.

"Renee is this woman who has always been on her own, and we're throwing her into a pool of people and seeing how she reacts, while (Gearhart) has a family around her," he said. "She does a fantastic job."

The casting of Joey Wyss, who plays Will Pearson, and Amiyah Fitzsimmons, who plays his daughter, Mallory, was a kind of divine intervention. During auditions, Wyss and Fitzsimmons automatically fit their roles and looked like they could be related — Martin knew when each person walked in the room "that's the character."

"Sometimes when auditioning, a person plays out a role so well that they're the only person you see in that role — they fit that bill," he said. "You can look at them and say 'gosh, they look like father and daughter.' That's not usually the case."

The play deals with the brokenness of our past and wanting to go our own ways without looking at the opportunities in front of us. Through the relationship between Renee and Will, and their relationships with the town, they experience healing so they can move forward as happier and healthier people — all the while, the audience is rooting for them to end up together.

In an especially tender moment, Will is telling Mallory of the strong women of the Bible and points to his late wife as an example of that strength. Their conversations allow Renee to see "you don't have to give away your own strength for relationship with God," Martin said.

"I hope the audience will see that just because you want to be your own boss doesn't mean you can't have a strong relationship with God as well," he said. "We are stronger with Him than without Him."

Stained Glass Theatre, located at 830 E. High St., will present "Related Spaces" at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29. There will also be matinee showings at 2 p.m. Oct. 23 and Oct. 30.

Tickets cost $7 on opening night and $10 for all other shows; they can be reserved at www.sgtmid

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