LEWISTON — Angels are at work at the Franco-American Heritage Center. It’s all happening in a new play by a Lewiston author who describes it as “a serious drama with healthy doses of comedy.”

The world premiere of “God Touches” by Paul Baribault opens Thursday, Nov. 19 and runs for three performances through Saturday, Nov. 21.

A seraphic angel who is in unrequited love with his workplace partner strives with her to bring an earthly couple together. All the while, their own unseen guardians plot to make love mates out of the junior angelic pair.

The matchmaking efforts unfold with a whole lot of light-hearted antics that serve as a framework for Baribault’s deeper message about the joy of receiving the holy spirit.

“God Touches” brings well-known equity singer/actor Dennis St. Pierre to the local stage. Baribault, who has been a dramatist and writer in several genres for 30-plus years, credits St. Pierre with inspiring him to write this play.

They met at a Christmas event in which St. Pierre was performing, and Baribault said they became close friends. When told of Baribault’s ideas, St. Pierre made suggestions that helped everything fall into place, the playwright said.

“I was off and running,” Baribault said. “It was a total gift. I sat down and worked steady for 11 days. It was like I was holding a basket and catching the notes.”

The play took shape on Baribault’s blank pages quickly, but it was based on experiences over several decades. He began writing “book plays,” which bear a strong resemblance to radio scripts. In the early 1970s, Baribault went to northern California where he wrote poetry and then tried his hand at screenplays. He returned to Maine in 1989 and continued writing here. A children’s production he wrote was produced in Topsham several years ago.

Baribault was formerly employed as a writer for the L.L. Bean catalog, and currently is employed as marketing director for Agren Appliances in Auburn.

His life has been shaped by deep spiritual experiences, and Baribault wanted to weave those feelings into a play.

“God Touches” is the result of that commitment, and Baribault said his aim was to make it “entertaining as well as honest to the experience.”

“It is not a Catholic experience only. It is broader than that,” Baribault said.

The new play also showcases the talents of Andrew Harris, executive director of L/A Arts, who is a British equity actor. Appearing in another lead role is Stephanie Ross, an veteran performer and also an American equity actor. St. Pierre, Harris and Ross were able to waive full equity fees and perform in “God Touches” at lower costs for this production, Baribault said.

St. Pierre and Ross are the seraphic angels who attempt matchmaking for an artist and his model, Duane Glover as Peter and Julia Reddy as Maggie. Harris is archangel Victor and Tiana Bonenfant of Hallowell is his partner, Julia.

Others in the cast are Vincent Brown, Kathy Hooke, David Murray, Dawson Kilbreth, Kathi Asquith, Sandra Findlay, Deanna Kilbreth, Paul Benoit, Nikki Amerill and Eric Amerill.

St. Pierre, who starred in the Maine State Music Theatre’s production of “Les Miserables,” has two vocal solos in this play.

“God Touches” is directed by Richard Martin. Production stage management is by Mary Brown.

Opening night chamber music will be presented by Louise Huntington, Meg Lewis, Mary Hunter and Virginia Stelk, all members of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra.

L/A Arts is the producing sponsor for “God Touches.”

Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for seniors and students ($16 at the door). Contact L/A Arts at online at www.laarts.org.

The Franco-American Heritage Center is at Cedar and Oxford Streets in Lewiston.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal
Michael, played by
Dennis St. Pierre, center, rehearses for the LA/Arts production of “God Touches”
with Victor, played by Andrew Harris, left, and Julia, played by Tiana
Bonenfant, at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston.  

Michael, played by Dennis St. Pierre and Liz, played by Stephanie Ross, rehearse for the LA/Arts production of “God Touches” at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston.

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