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Moose Jaw players present a ‘haunting’ look at work-related PTSD

“Spirit Control” occurs on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. in the Mae Wilson Theatre at the Cultural Centre. Tickets can be purchased at or from the box office.

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — The Moose Jaw Community Players’ latest theatre performance should be a “haunting” experience that takes people on an “emotional rollercoaster” as they watch the main characters deal with a life-shattering event. 

“Spirit Control” occurs on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m. in the Mae Wilson Theatre at the Cultural Centre. Tickets can be purchased at or from the box office.

The cast includes Jarrod Jeanson, Crystal Milburn, Lisa Langdon, Mark Corbin, Ron Jukes and Dexter Deugau.

The story synopsis says the lead character, Adam Wyatt, has the perfect family and a perfect record as an air traffic controller. When the pilot of a small plane suffers a heart attack, Wyatt must talk a terrified passenger through an emergency landing. 

What happens next links him inextricably to a woman he’s never met and sets the life he once knew irrevocably adrift. 

“‘Spirit Control’ is a chilling and mesmerizing look at how we navigate a crisis and the demons that haunt us long after,” the summary adds. 

With only days to go before the show, director Larry Rutherford says rehearsals — which started in mid-November — have been going well, and the cast and crew have been fine-tuning the remaining parts to put on a “great (and) haunting performance.” 

“It really shows the emotions of how someone’s ordinary day at work can come crumbling down as far as their life,” he said. 

“As an air traffic controller, when you have a bad day at work and … a plane crashes, if you don’t deal with that, it’s amazing how much that affects everything and everybody around you.”

The main character, Adam, experiences post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of the crash, while he also loses his job, his friends and his family, Rutherford continued. The play then shows the trials and tribulations he goes through afterward.

This drama will hit home on many levels for attendees, while others may be more affected because 15 Wing Airbase is south of Moose Jaw and some residents work as air traffic controllers, the director added. Furthermore, there was a mid-air collision 70 years ago over Moose Jaw that a few residents may recall. 

This play is close to Rutherford’s heart because he performed in it eight years ago when he lived in Leduc, Alta. He loved it so much that he brought it to Moose Jaw after moving here in August 2021 since he thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase this thriller drama.

“It takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. There’s a little bit of humour, but by no means is it a comedy,” he said. “I believe my cast have really dug deep to bring out the emotion and bring out those characters so our audience can really feel for them … .”

While Rutherford has performed in many theatre productions — including last year’s “Notoriously Moose Jaw” — over his 25 years in the industry, this will be his first time directing. So far, things have been going “absolutely fantastic,” which he credits to the work of the cast and crew. 

“I basically want people to really leave this performance thinking about their lives,” Rutherford said. “A lot of people will leave thinking, ‘What just happened in this play?’ But I think it will be a play that’s talked about for a long time … .” 

The director added that the Community Players plan to take “Spirit Control” to TheatreFest in North Battleford on April 27.