PTE readies a gripping prairie play
Alzheimer’s disease – two words no one wants to think about, let alone talk about. They’re also the two words at the centre of the season opener from Prairie Theatre Exchange. PTE kicks off its 44th season in October with The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble – a family drama about casseroles, relationships and how a life-changing diagnosis impacts everyone differently.
Local actor Marina Stephenson Kerr plays Bernice, a woman in her late 50s with three adult children, who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She says that as a prairie girl, she really identifies with this play.
“I feel it deep in my bones. It’s another reminder of the warmth, kindness and sense of family we have here on the prairies.”
PTE has a mandate to challenge, provoke and touch Manitobans by drawing from their experiences– and this play does just that.
Stephenson Kerr calls Bernice a quintessential, prairie-stock character. “She is fully fleshed out and three-dimensional down to every detail – from the casserole she makes to her blunt, quirky sense of humour. She could be my mother.”
Written by Canadian playwright Beth Graham and nominated for a Governor General’s Award, the play centres on Bernice’s middle daughter – the rock her mother counts on, and the one trying desperately to hold things together while her two siblings fly off to different ends of the emotional spectrum.
It is the heart of the play that got to Robert Metcalfe, PTE’s artistic director, when it came to selecting this particular production.
“I love it because of its fundamental honesty and heart in addressing some very serious subject matter, including the unique relationship between mothers and daughters, and the choices we make both in parenting and in life,” says Metcalfe.
A story that plays out in so many kitchens everyday – it’s with that honesty, heart and a healthy dose of humour that The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble will get people thinking and talking about Alzheimer’s disease and the challenges it brings to a family.
The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble runs Oct.12 to 30 at Prairie Theatre Exchange. Call 204-942-5483 or visit http://www.pte.mb.ca for tickets.
The PTE 2016-2017 season
Six Canadian plays will honour Canada’s 150th anniversary
The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble
Oct. 13 – 30
Family drama about losing your centre of gravity Mom’s the Word
Nov. 10 – 27
The comedy that proves motherhood is not for the faint-of-heart MunschBusters!
Dec. 22 – Jan. 8
A Manitoba family tradition – the stories of Robert Munsch presented as live theatre!
Jan. 26 – Feb. 12
A mystery on the frozen edge of Hudson Bay
Feb. 23 – March 12
An epic tale of survival from Canada’s distant past
The Birds and the Bees
March 30 – April 16
A hilarious new comedy about love among turkeys,
chance encounters & fresh starts