Set in Winkler, Man. an upcoming sitcom called Maria and the Mennos is looking for their all-Manitoban cast and crew to play an interesting set of characters.
"It's about a Filipino Canadian woman who moves in with her Mennonite in-laws," says Paul Plett, one of the Mennonite creators of the show. "It's a super Manitoba story. I'm Mennonite and I've always wanted to do something more in the Mennonite space here in Manitoba. I'm also a filmmaker here in Winnipeg and I collaborate with a lot of Filipino-Canadians."
Plett says that his intention is to bring about the idea of what both cultures share with the world in a witty way.
Tina Fehr Kehler joined Plett as the 'resident Mennonite expert' during the writing process. Kehler lives in Winkler where the sitcom is set. She's also worked on films for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), which Plett helped her with.
"I've had a lot of fun in the collaboration aspect of writing and putting something together, putting it out there," says Kehler. "I have some acting experience in my life. I started a theatre company in Winkler, Flatlands Theatre Company with some friends and my husband many years ago. So moving in this direction was a strange, wonderful coincidence."
Two Filipino-Canadians, Hazel Wallace and Alec Carlos joined Plett and Kehler to help write and create Maria and the Mennos.
"It's really important that this show is a balance between the two cultures," says Plett. "It's not just a Mennonite show and it's not just a Filipino show. What I find really funny about the show is that it's set in Winkler, Manitoba, and set in a Mennonite context, but that's just the setting. It's more about how do they interact with each other rather as opposed to a show that's just about stereotypes."
The show is set to start filming in January 2023 and the crew is in the process of hiring the cast members. People interested in auditioning for Maria and the Mennos can send their headshot, resume and character names to firstname.lastname@example.org. They hope to release the first episode in August 2023.