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Halo puts Jesus’ face on the side of Tim Hortons

By Connor Sadler, October 9 2014 —

When an image of Jesus appears on the wall of a Tim Hortons in the fictional town of Nately, Nova Scotia, residents are unsure whether the image is a hoax, a sign from God or a coincidence.

Halo, a heartfelt stage comedy by Fire Exit Theatre, explores how the lives of Nately residents change after this sign appears.

The play follows the life of Casey, a girl who just moved back to Nately from Halifax and is already sick of the small town mentality. Accordingly, she finds the uproar caused by the image hilarious.

Simultaneously, Halo tells the story of Father J.J., a progressive priest whose relationship  with his congregation is limited to sermons and being told “to get a haircut” in response to his unpriest-like hairdo. His story focuses on deciding whether or not the appearance of Jesus is a hoax and whether it matters if the image is divine intervention or not.

Both Casey and Father J.J. are outcasts struggling to find their niche in the community. The appearance of Jesus gives them a chance to understand the town a little more and have a few laughs along the way.

The visitation resonates differently with everyone in town. Some residents are shaken by the turn of events while others dismiss it as a trick. One of the residents, whose daughter lapsed into a coma due to a car accident, sees the depiction of Jesus as a sign that she will recover.

“He’s been holding out that she’ll come out of this coma,” says Halo director Mark Lewandowski. “And his other daughter has come back from Toronto and she’s realized how far gone he is from the reality of the situation.”

The other stories have a lighter tone as residents laugh off the situation that has the entire town flipped upside down.

“There are all these crazy characters and they’re [based off] real people, but they’re just fun,” Lewandowski says. “They’re that kind of smart character who has this wit. It’s kind of dry and acerbic and sarcastic.”

Lewandowski says he drew inspiration from the small town he lives in to capture the unusual atmosphere of Nately.

“There was an old guy who used to catch badgers with his bare hands,” Lewandowski  says. “He used to say, ‘As long as I get it before he’s on the bottom he won’t turn around and I’ll be safe.’ So he’d just reach down and grab the badger.”

Even though Halo touches on themes of faith and spirituality, Lewandowski says his main goal is to make the play fun to watch.

“My hope is that people will come and they will have a good laugh,” Lewandowski says. “There’s comedic moments. There’s crazy characters. There’s really great situations, but they’re also going to come away with something to think about.”

Halo runs until Oct. 12 at Epcor Centre’s Engineered Air Theatre with nightly shows at 7:30 p.m. Weekend matinees start at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $25.

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