"A story about faith and doubt": Q&A with the director of Man of God, Eldon Letkeman!

Coming up in just under a month, Abby Theatre Fest is a four-day festival of short plays with the same heart, soul and mind theatre you expect, but with a fun twist! Join us all-week for a boundary-stretching, risk-taking theatrical experience featuring a mix of shorter plays presented by exciting actors, directors and designers that are sure to entertain and challenge.

To give you a little insight into the shows, we asked each director to answer a few questions about their shows and the process! Next up, it's the director of Man of GodEldon Letkeman!

What made you choose to write this story?

This is a story that has been brewing for about nine years. In part it's my story, in part it's Nick's story, and in part it belongs to countless others. We all go through periods of doubt, loss and the perception of unfairness. We all face times in our lives where our integrity and morality are tested.

During the times in my life when I questioned and reevaluated everything I believed, very few people were willing to take that journey with me. This play provides a safe place for the audience to ask hard questions about faith, doubt and the Western culture of religion.

Tell us a little bit about the people working on your show.

The people involved in Man of God are very close to my heart.

Nick Lucky is a prolific writer and a true wordsmith. I couldn't think of a better person to help me bring this story to life. This story is as much his as it is mine, and his spirit touches every page of this script.

Elspeth Futcher is a wonderful, brilliant actor and a dear friend. She has brought so many nuances to the character of Mary, even as the story was still being crafted. She brings a level of experience most directors would sell their soul for.

Michael McIntyre, who plays Dallas Hinds, is an absolute genius actor. It is rare to find someone so dedicated to the craft as Michael is. Watching him create Hinds is very exciting.

Dave Farmer is such a joy to have in this production. He brings years of theatre experience and his ingenuity knows no bounds. I am so blessed to be sharing this experience with such consummate professionals.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get involved in theatre? Have G7 audiences seen you before?

I have been acting since I was twelve years old, when I was cast in a school play. Since then, I have tried to be involved in as much theatre as I could get my sticky fingers on, from Agatha Christie to Shakespeare. In 2006, I joined Gallery 7 Theatre in their production of The Hobbit, playing Bilbo Baggins. I had a lot more hair back then!

From there, I played in the Boys Next Door, stretching my acting skills to play a man suffering from schizophrenia. The next step was directing three plays still very close to my heart: Crossing Delancey, Around The World in 80 Days and Peter Pan. Six years ago, I performed in my first musical, playing Huckabee in The Fantasticks. I've laid low for the last few years, but as any actor knows, the stage is always calling

Give us the 2-3 sentence elevator pitch of your play. What’s it about and why should people see it?

Ryan Everett is a seemingly successful pastor, but underneath it all is facing the very real struggle of doubt and injustice. On the eve of his rise to even greater power he meets Mary, an unexpected voice who challenges his entire paradigm. This play gives us an opportunity to see doubt as a catalyst to explore faith and the hard questions more deeply.

What excites you about this festival?

I'm really excited about seeing a broad range of plays in a festival like this. I've always felt that real skills can be developed in an environment such as the one act play. There are many voices that can be experienced in a space like this, as opposed to a feature play. It's a safe place to hone our crafts of writing, acting, directing and other disciplines of the theatre. I look forward to connecting with the other performers and artists as we bring this festival to life.

Who do you think would love to see your show? Give us a description of your ideal audience member.

Deep down, we all struggle with doubt and doing the right thing. Contrary to what people say or think, that's not a bad thing. Doubt is not the absence of faith, it is the beginning. If this is you (I'm pretty sure it is), then you'll be at home in the audience. And if you want to talk about it, then I would love to listen and share.