Brianna Wiens plays Grade 3 teacher Teresa and Sherri Wade plays concerned mother Marion (from left) in the Western Edge Theatre production of Between the Sheets at Harbour City Theatre. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Brianna Wiens plays Grade 3 teacher Teresa and Sherri Wade plays concerned mother Marion (from left) in the Western Edge Theatre production of Between the Sheets at Harbour City Theatre. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Western Edge Theatre presents ‘Between the Sheets’ at Harbour City Theatre

Canadian play centres on an intense parent-teacher interview

Western Edge Theatre’s first play of the new year takes audience members into a Grade 3 classroom to witness a high-stakes parent-teacher meeting played out in real time.

From Jan. 25 to Feb. 3 the local theatre company presents Between the Sheets, the 2012 debut play by Toronto playwright Jordi Mand, at the Harbour City Theatre.

In the play, mother Marion, played by Sherri Wade, meets with teacher Teresa, played by Brianna Wiens, to discuss her son’s scholastic performance.

“They have some differing opinions about what the needs are of this child and how they can best help him,” director Tamara McCarthy said. “And so what starts out perhaps as a pleasant interview quickly escalates into something much more heated and things take a turn.”

McCarthy said she’s always on the lookout for plays with “powerful” roles for women and she’s thrilled to get to bring this one to the stage. She describes the writing, with its pauses and interruptions, as a rhythmically precise musical score. The actresses agree that the writing was a draw.

“A show with just two women on stage for 70 minutes was really attractive to me, and then the content of it and the tension it has and just how she writes is very artful and so I was hooked immediately,” Wiens said.

“I really wanted the role of Marion,” Wade added. “I went after that role because it’s not very often that you get to see all the different sides of a person in such a short period of time.”

Wade said that while plays typically use exposition to let the audience know what’s happening, with Between the Sheets “you get what you get.” That lack of context means it’s one woman’s word against another while the audience is left to choose a side.

“Each of them really believes they’re right … they are totally justified in what they are doing,” Wade said. “So if you have two people who are committed to what they believe, just like in real life, you will have something happen. Neither person wants to back down.”

Wiens said the idea of broadening one’s perspective is a prevalent theme throughout the play. McCarthy added she’s interested to see if audience members stay firmly on one side or if their opinions change during the production. She said she hopes they continue to discuss and ponder over the play’s complicated central conflict long after the final bow.

“One of the reasons I chose this play is I like to work on theatre that challenges and that you leave with more questions than you do with answers… The conversation continues once the curtain drops and they leave and they go have a drink and they keep talking about it,” McCarthy said. “And that’s what I think theatre should do.”

WHAT’S ON … Western Edge Theatre presents Between the Sheets at Harbour City Theatre on Jan. 25, 26, 31 and Feb. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets available online, by phone at 250-816-6459 or at Amethyst Forest. Adult language and content.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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