Gravity is a good hugger-it keeps you grounded!
By Beth Graham
Directed by Jane Stott
In this play, with the quirky title “The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble”, there are no murderers wielding weapons, no characters rushing in and out through multiple doors, and no one bursting into song every other line. There may be those of you reading this who say-“Thank goodness!” Not a velvet cape or feather boa in sight! The play is set in present day-it could take place in your own mother’s kitchen.
In this play you will hopefully come face to face with yourself as you relate to one of the adult siblings, or perhaps to their mother. If we have done our job well, you will feel right at home with an occasional family outburst. You may fit comfortably somewhere in the sibling birth order scenario. You will have ample opportunity to enjoy quick wit and gentle humor- and the characters will have to pause while you laugh after many of the lines.
In this play you will be transported from the present to the past and back again. Iris, Bernice’s middle child, tell us, “Sometimes, the only way out is to go in. Can’t make things up. Can’t wish. Can’t hope. One must tell it like it is. That’s what I’ll do.” Iris is your guide. The play challenges Iris, her sister Sarah and her brother Peter to accept each other’s differences and to honor the wishes of loved ones. There will be times when you will be feeling a tug at your heart strings. There will be moments of déjà vu. You will experience the celebration of a mother’s love for her children, and her children’s love for her. This play will take you to where all of us could be one day, and it will do so with love and grace.
Bernice is about to hold the first family meeting without her husband, Robert Trimble. Her three adult children are summoned, and she delivers some news that “stops the presses”. There is a history of Alzheimer’s in the family, so although not fully unexpected, the news nonetheless sends Peter, Iris and Sarah down the rabbit hole, and each sibling has to find their own way out.
Playwright Beth Graham writes-“Iris’ voice was the one that told me the story. My heart went out to her. That’s the only way I can explain it. It’s just how the play emerged. The play isn’t about the decision Bernice makes. It’s about family. In a way, it’s a love letter to all the mothers out there”.
Well, I hope I have whetted your appetite for an exceptionally well written piece of story telling. The actors are perfectly cast-a director’s dream, even if I do say so myself. What a joy it is to be directing this Canadian masterpiece. The Gravitional Pull of Bernice Trimble stars Janet Rice in the title role. Of her three children, the whirling dervish Sarah, is played by Annie West. Iris, who says she is too fond of gravity, is portrayed by Juli Heney, and the quiet reclusive brother, Peter, stars Charles Henderson. Set design and set dressing by Reiner and Penny Silberhorn. Costume design by Julia Egener and Joanna McAuley Treffers. Tech design by Yogi Sepp. Backdrop and set painting by Fiona Bladon and Bruce Raby. Photography by Bruce Raby. Props by Roberta Peets. Poster by Amber Mitchell. Produced by Bob FeDuke. Directed by Jane Stott.
The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble premieres at the Studio Theatre on Thursday, January 17th for seven shows, Jan. 17, 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 7:30 pm and Jan. 20 and 27 at 2 pm. Advance tickets are $24 and are available exclusively at Tickets Please in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E (613 485-6434; ticketsplease.ca). Tickets are $24 at the Studio Theatre box office on show days, available 1 hour before opening. Attend opening night and save $5! Rush tickets for students with ID are just $ 10 at the door.
Submitted by Jane Stott / Photo by Bruce Raby
An exceptionally well-written story about the tricky nature of family dynamics and the effects of a mother’s life-altering decision as seen through the eyes of a young woman who’s searching for her own feelings amidst the whirlwind emotions of her family.
“Honest, revealing and darkly funny.” BroadwayWorld