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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26
HOME / STORY

Well, This Is Awkward

Kathy Gallant
Published Thursday January 8, 04:57 pm
You’ve never seen a parent-teacher conference like this one

Photo Credit: Photo by Stephen Rutherford

BETWEEN THE SHEETS

Persephone Theatre

Runs to Sunday 18

 

Here’s betting that almost everyone who’s been a parent — or a kid, for that matter — has experienced a parent-teacher conference gone awry. Awkward, right? But add a mix of infidelity and personal turmoil, and you’ve got a much larger problem. You’ve also got Between the Sheets, Persephone Theatre’s upcoming production.

 

Part of Persephone’s Deep End series, Between the Sheets is centred on modern life, and the inevitable complications of relationships. Lisa Bayliss, whose career thus far has spanned three decades in theatre, television and film, plays Marion, a betrayed wife and mother of Alex — a problematic yet brilliant child who’s on the verge of being diagnosed with ADD. Well-known Saskatoon arts advocate, budding playwright, and actor Heather Morrison plays Teresa, a young grade-three teacher and misunderstood mistress who genuinely wants to help improve Alex’s scholastic life.

 

“It’s a parent-teacher conference from hell, and that’s where we start,” says Bayliss (who also works for Persephone as a marketing and development associate). “Marion is this hard-working woman in her early 50s who’s on a mission to not only be more involved in her son’s academic life, but to confront the woman who’s sleeping with her husband Curtis.”

 

Penned by Canadian playwright Jordi Mand, the two-person play delves into feelings of love, patience, disloyalty and inadequacy, and the consequences of one’s actions and how they affect others. Though the two vivid sub-characters of this play — the husband and son — are never physically present, their existence and impact on the two women reverberate throughout the production.

 

Bayliss says the play takes many an interesting turn, and both she and Morrison believe that audiences will connect with the overall themes of modern femininity and trying to find a place in the world.

 

“People won’t be able to decide who they sympathize with more — the scorned wife and stressed-out mother or the adulterous educator,” she says. “[The play] deals with choices that women face every day, how they cope with these challenges, and what society expects of them.”

 

For Morrison (who was recently awarded an Alumni Achievement Award from the U of S, and named Best Champion of the Arts by Planet S readers in 2014), working with Bayliss and the crew as a whole — which is led by producer Brian Cochrane — has already been a great experience, even before the play’s opening.

 

“It’s been so rewarding to work with such amazing talent at every level,” she says. “I’ve just met and started working with Lisa through this project, but we connect and laugh, and we’re able to react to each other well on stage. Also, Brian has brought such a level of honesty to our performances, I think the end product will feel extremely real to those watching.”

 

Bayliss agrees, and thinks almost anyone will be able to relate to the material.

 

“Even if they haven’t been through a similar scenario, we can all connect with the feeling of making mistakes, and the idea that our lives can be difficult,” she says. “Ultimately, I think people will really be able to identify with the concept that in fact no one is perfect, and that our choices greatly impact others.”

 

Morrison notes that, along with the engrossing subject matter, the production will also keep show-goers captivated in a very unique way.

 

“The audience will actually be seated on main stage,” she says. “It’ll give them a feeling like being a fly on the wall to exchanges between the two characters. They’ll see the classroom clash close-up, the emotion on our faces. It’s great that Persephone can explore the theatre world and take risks by showcasing different types of shows, and especially one that feels so interactive.”

 

“It’s almost like they’ll be at a wrestling match,” adds Bayliss with a chuckle. “It will literally be like a once-in-lifetime experience.”

 

For more information, show times or tickets, go to persephonetheatre.org

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