Theatre Orangeville opens with Same Time, Next Year

October 22, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“582 days,” says Artistic Director, David Nairn, “since we were last in the theatre, an audience watching the play performed live!”

There is a joyful tear in his eye as he says it and for us too – the pleasure of sitting with an audience to watch Jane Spence and Jeffery Wetsch playing the roles of Doris and George is simply wonderful and it is on now, running until Oct. 31.

The play, This Time, Next Year by Canadian playwright, Bernard Slade is a guilty-pleasure romp of two people, happily married to other people, yet meeting once a year in the same hotel for a weekend of infidelity for 24 years, from 1951 to 1975. Feeling guilty but going for it anyway is funny; a time of escape with someone you have known for years, if only for once a year – these two make it questionable but, somehow, reasonable.

They bring their marriages with them: “Tell me one good story and one bad story about your husband/wife…” is like a ritual, at every meeting. So, they do, openly admiring and critiquing their respective spouses, bringing their other 51 weekends to the bedroom, making us laugh and self-reflect. Clearly, there are stories they save for these weekends and a time of anticipation that increases in value as the years pass.

Pivotal is the faith they must have in one another that they will both show up at the appointed time and place, not having other ways to communicate – text, email – and it occurs to the viewer that they might not have used those conveniences because the thrill is to witness the faith justified. The play portrays this long-term relationship by showing them coming together at five-year intervals.

A large part of the fun are the changes in them, as individuals, that show up after each interval of the five years that enriches the story we see, during which time the world’s history creates a big difference to how they appear, their personas over the years. Philosophical disruptions: the importance – or not – of money, knowledge, growth; the state of the world; their relationships with others and each other; who they each are in the moment – lots of transformations to accept or question.

They do that too. 

Both Jane Spence and Jeffery Wetsch have graced Theatre Orangeville’s main stage many times. Indeed, Ms. Spence spent a season at Theatre Orangeville to be mentored by David Nairn in her ambition to be a director herself. In fact, at the end of that season, she directed with considerable grace, The Birds and the Bees, a comedy by Mark Crawford.

She has otherwise acted in a number of Theatre Orangeville productions, including Ladies Foursome and Miracle on 34th Street.

So too has Jeffery Wetsch brought the “light fantastic” to the main stage, including performing in Ghost Island Light. Most recently, he appeared with David Rosser and Stephen Sparks in the online Theatre Orangeville production of The Third Life of Eddie Mann. 

By the bye, Ms. Spence and Mr. Wetsch are actually married to each other. So, the kissing is really – kissing.

It is so great to see the work of Beckie Morris, Theatre Orangeville’s Production Manager and set designer for this production. Happy days. No surprise but always a delight to see her beautiful set, cleverly assembled with economy looking like luxury, theatre at its best. Everything is set to accommodate what the play needs, what works for the actors. Thus, a room with a fireplace, sofa, coffee table, a bed and two entry ways are ready for a story – several stories – to be told. 

Theatre Orangeville’s creative team are happy to be back, bringing with them the subtleties of lighting and sound, blending the whole together, making it real.

David Nairn, who directed this play, added his own note to the show’s program, published virtually on the Theatre Orangeville website. It relates a charming tale and gives a sweet dedication, and so, for those many of you who may not find the online link, here it is: “Many years ago, a very wonderful woman became friends with two very lovely people. She would meet several times a week with Mr. and Mrs. Newbound at the local mall and over coffee, they would compare stories of their sons’ adventures in the world of the arts. One son was wildly successful at that time in the world of television, writing popular series such as The Flying Nun and The Partridge Family and would later go on to pen Tony-winning and Oscar-nominated plays and films. The other son was struggling greatly then as he was just starting out in the very competitive, sometimes ruthless, and oft times heartbreaking world of the young actor. Mr. and Mrs. Newbound never crowed about their successful son, and always allayed the woman’s concerns and worries for her son with assurances that no doubt he too would one day find joy and success in his chosen career, just as had their son, Bernard Slade. I adore their son’s play, thank them for taking the time to befriend my mother and dedicate this production to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Newbound.”                                                                                        

The dialogue of Same Time, Next Year is a potpourri of sweet and sincere, laughter and doubt – a fine mix of emotions. A fine couple of hours in your theatre, at long last. For all those reasons, don’t miss your chance to see this live production for the first time in so many months.

Please note, although all the entertainments in the last several months have also been provided as online shows, licensing for This Time, Next Year to be filmed has been denied, which means you have to go to the theatre to see it. Also, be assured that all the strictest Covid protocols are still in force at the theatre, keeping it safe for everybody.

For details and to buy tickets for this show or the whole six shows of the season, through to June, 2022, go to or call the lovely people at the Box Office at 519-941-3423.

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