Theatre Orangeville season finale ‘Where You Are’ opens next week

April 25, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Where a person is can have many meanings and this is the exploration on which Kristen Da Silva leads us with her new play, Where You Are, opening next Thursday, May 2, and running until May 19. It is the last show of Theatre Orangeville’s 2018- 2019 Season.

The placing of the play is a pleasant home and retirement business on Manitoulin Island.

Glenda and Suzanne, who are sisters, have joined forces to make jam as a commercial enterprise. 

Their life is a reasonable routine, with their home-made jam having its own cycle and their frivolous interest in their handsome veterinary neighbour, Patrick, adds diversion to their lives. 

Into the moment of the story when the audience first meets them, is the news that Suzanne’s adult daughter, Beth, is coming for a visit. Also, there is the feeling all is not yet revealed, that there is other news – might be life changing – to come.

First and foremost, this a comedy and we are promised, “It’s very funny.” Basically, it is a play about who we are when we are faced with new situations.

Sitting down the with the cast of the show for a pre-show interview, we all followed that idea. Featuring Melanie Janzen, Debra Hale, Jeff Hanson and the playwright of the piece, Kirsten Da Silva, the play is the perfect blend of funny and very moving. Who knows what might come next in any life? What our conversation covered was, where are the people in our lives when it does? 

To begin, there is the mother and there is her daughter. Could be they have everything and not much in common. They might be alike and different, separated, in part, by their experiences since Beth’s earlier years at home. Meanwhile, coming into a day, a time when things have changed forever in the house on Manitoulin, Beth brings her own news to the emotional stew.

Patrick, willing to be helpful for the two ladies, is another factor in their lives, living as he does next door and being their “man around the house” when they need him.

“We pay him in jam,” Ms. Janzen informed us. Imagine his pantry.

About the primary question the play raises, namely, how do we handle the times when our lives are altered and what do we do for others in that place? 

Ms. Janzen’s comment was, “We are accountable to each other.”

Writing the play, Ms. Da Silva told us all, “When you are in that part of your life when things start to happen, who stands by us; when we need those who love us to be there for us – will you be there? What will you sacrifice?”

Meaning, as well, the wider community of people one might know, she added, “I think it contributes to mental illness that our communities are dispersed.”

She admitted how she was inspired to write Where You Are: “I lived part of it.”

The play is all about relationships in times of coming into the unknown: “It’s about loving people when they are who they are. The mother and daughter relationship is loaded: if you can’t accept the child is who she is, there’s a problem..”

“But in a way,” Mr. Hanson interjected, “this is a utensil used for good. There is kindness in the world too.. We’re all going to have these journeys – how will we deal with it – light or dark? This goes for light.”

He said, “Accepting when and who you and others are, as long as you’re honest. To realize and focus on what is really important, take advantage of the time you have with people; seize the opportunities when you have them.”

Director David Nairn said, “When times are difficult, it tears into the dynamics of the whole family. Humour derives from how you deal with that.”

Certainly, he has brought the right cast to the stage to deliver the humour. It was Melanie Janzen who was wonderful as Jonesy/Delores/Gloria in Screwball Comedy last season. Debra Hale performed in Theatre Orangeville’s production of Miracle on 34th Street; Jeff Hanson played roles in the Gentleman Clothier and Stag and Doe.

Kristen Da Silva, of course, also wrote Sugar Road, which entertained us here last season.

From Ms. Hale came her praise, “This is a funny, fun, lovely show. People will laugh and feel. The characters are very relatable.”

Patrick, the local vet, “All those things he thought he’d have,” commented Mr. Hanson of his character. “Life’s not a cookie cutter. This celebrates community. It’s going to remind people that you never, never know what tomorrow will bring.”

As the premier production of the play, there is real responsibility to the play and these first audiences seeing it. 

“We support it by premiering it,” explained Mr. Nairn. “It’s an added bonus that this is a new work, an exciting entertainment. This production will define what this play is and we’ll learn a lot from these audiences.”

“The amount of benefit of this play couldn’t be overstated. At all,” Mr. Hanson averred. 

Where You Are opens at Theatre Orangeville on May 2 and runs until May 19. May 3 is Theatre Orangeville’s Starlight Gala and the evening on which Mr. Nairn, as Artistic Director, announces the playbills for the upcoming season, 2019-20..

Tickets for the play or the whole package of Starlight Gala may obtained at the Box Office at 87 Broadway or the Information Centre on Buena Vista Drive at Highway 10; by telephone on 519-942-3423 or online at

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