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Theatre Orangeville staging world premiere of The Bluff by Kristen Da Silva

March 9, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

There is great news for Theatre Orangeville audiences: the World Premiere of The Bluff by Kristen Da Silva is up next, and those involved in its production promise a play that is both thrilling and funny. 

The cast and director, David Nairn, are very enthusiastic about this production. The Bluff runs Mar. 15 to Apr. 2.

The playwright herself plays the role of Aurora who comes to the Bluff with her fiancé Edwin, to stay a few days in an estate house on this remote location on a bluff. The house is in much rougher condition than they expected, a first shock.

Their retreat from the city follows a recent tragic event in Edwin’s life. Soon after their arrival, though, their only neighbours come to call or to see, at least, who they are. Dylan and his grandmother, Marion have lived there on the Bluff for many years, far from any city, closer to the local village and the grassy field that is the nearest airport.

“Marion,” said Mary Pitt, who plays the role, “has an opinion about everything.”

The plot was mainly kept under cover during our interview this week with the cast. The mysteries and surprises beginning very early on are the reasons for this subterfuge, and we are assured of an evening of both, taking it on our absolute faith that Theatre Orangeville will delight and astound us.

Still and all, there was some reveal that the house may be haunted, or it seems there is a ghost or two, shadows in the night, suspicious chill in the air. Ms. De Silva offered her experiences with such possibilities by telling us that she saw spectral figures as a child but is not sure from the perspective of an adult remembering whether they were what she saw or what she imagined. It hardly matters as a child’s imagination is powerful enough to inform memory later on and feed the creative impulse to write the phantoms into the story. Nothing like a ghost to add the chill audiences love, especially when the next line makes us laugh.

Welcome two newcomers to the Theatre Orangeville main stage, Oliver Georgiou as Edwin and Alex Furber in the role of Dylan.

Mr. Georgiou comes to Theatre Orangeville with a career in comedy. Currently, he is based in Toronto, where he runs SODA Improv, an unscripted theatre company and is involved in a number of projects. 

Said Mr. Georgiou, “When I first read this script, right away I wanted to do the part because it made me laugh out loud.”

Alex Furber is pleased to be making his debut here. He has appeared in a number of theatres, including Mirvish’s production of War Horse, as well as film and television.

His early comment about The Bluff was, “This play is spooky and exciting. There’s a mystery about the history of the house and who are these four people.

The Bluff itself is really kind of a character.”

Set in Northern Ireland, the Bluff was an unnamed location in the first draft, but its author Kristen Da Silva, has had some fun putting the story together over a couple of drafts, and the story landed in Northern Ireland for the best effect. 

The Bluff is the fifth World Premiere here at Theatre Orangeville for Ms. Da Silva, her first being staged in 2017, Sugar Road, which many of us will remember fondly. During the shutdown over the Covid-19 protocols when Theatre Orangeville was still commissioning Canadian playwrights for one-act plays, Ms. Da Silva was among those authors.

“The challenge of writing a thriller is all the pieces have to be laid out, character by character, where and when. Everyone is suspicious,” she warned us. “This is challenging but in a very fun way.”

She told us about her role as Aurora, “She’s the more optimistic of the couple and she is desperate to have a holiday with Edwin.”

Alex Furber added about Dylan, “He is a Northern Irish young man but one of the exciting things about this story is not knowing who these people are.”

Lovely that Mary Pitt is back to Theatre Orangeville. Her last appearance here was in Too Close to Home, which Coronavirus protocols closed immediately after Opening Night on Mar. 13, 2020.

“Marion came to the Bluff as a young girl and has been there for quite a long time,” she told us.

As the World Premiere of The Bluff, David Nairn reminded us of the grand responsibility that brings to the production. Whatever becomes of the show, wherever else it is performed and who are the actors, the premiere sets the bar for future productions. Likewise, the audiences of this thriller/comedy’s premiere staging will be the first to enjoy it. Their gasps and laughs will establish it as a play not-to-be- missed in other theatres. Great to be part of that!

Said Mr. Georgiou, “I am very excited that when the play is published, my name will be on the list of the first cast to perform it.”

“The set is stunning!” declared Mr. Nairn praising designer Beckie Morris. “Normally, we take the sets apart later but we plan to store some of this for future productions in other venues.”

He is looking forward to people filling the theatre to see this thriller/comedy. “Because people are excited to return to the theatre, we hope they will welcome the chance to re-kindle their fondness for live theatre. This is a great show for coming back!”

Said Alex Furber, “This a funny show – it weaves tension with humour.”

For all the details and to purchase tickets, go to or call the charming folk at the Box Office, 519-942-3423, which is located at 87 Broadway.

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