Archive » Arts and Entertainment

Theatre Orangeville to bring Norm Foster’s latest play to the Opera House

February 1, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Excitement is in the air as Theatre Orangeville brings Norm Foster’s “Doris and Ivy in the Home” to the main stage, opening Feb. 8 and running until Feb. 25 at the Opera House.

Many Orangeville residents might remember “Jonas and Barry in the Home,” which Mr. Foster wrote in 2015, specifically for himself and David Nairn to play the two roles. Nowadays, however, other actors do the play justice wherever it is produced. Not a sequel at all, Doris and Ivy in the Home is quite a different take on the subject of people “retiring,” with its own stories, concerns and bravado.

Theatre Orangeville welcomes Terri Cherniack as Ivy for her debut. She shared that Ivy was an Austrian Olympic skier in the Paradise Village retirement home in Canmore, Alberta, for a year. 

Portraying the effervescent and brash Doris, Debbie Collins joins Theare Orangeville again, following her tremendous delivery of the Evil Stepmother in the theatre’s first Panto last December. 

Doris has just moved into Paradise Village and was quick to strike up a friendship with Ivy. 

Ms. Collins said, “Doris is a real in-your-face role, but she has a heart of gold.”

Welcome to Daniel Karpenchuk, who is treading the boards for the first time here at Theatre Orangeville as Arthur. Since his recent arrival of a few months to Paradise Village, Arthur is inclined to romance Ivy, but there are no guarantees about that.  

The Citizen had the chance to sit down late last week with the cast and director, Jesse Collins, to talk about the play and their personal histories with it. 

Mr. Collins began the conversation, saying, “Every show presents different challenges but the bonus here is the delightful cast whose attitude is always open and supportive.”

We asked about their individual parts in other Foster plays, and Ms. Cherniack told us hers was in an early production of the “Melville Boys,” his second play after “Sinners.” The first professional productions of both Sinners and, better known, The Melville Boys were first staged at Theatre New Brunswick. 

Mr. Foster has continued to develop his characters with more depth since those early days was the consensus. He has always been able to twist simple situations into interesting problems for his characters, making us laugh, sometimes cry, making us think, much to the joy of his audiences.  

Part of what Doris and Ivy in the Home face that rings so true is the necessity for those entering a home like Paradise Village to make new friends, which many have not needed to do for decades. 

For Mr. Karpenchuk, Foster’s Drinking Alone is another acting experience of doing Foster on stage.

“That was 10 years ago,” he commented. “This play is completely different, a play for its time when so many of us reflect on where we’re going.”

However, this cast and director have a history with Doris and Ivy in the Home. Terri Cherniack explained that she was invited to audition for the role of Doris, a former prison guard.

“I read the play,” she related, “and thought no, I should do Ivy, not Doris.”

Then, “Somehow, Debbie Collins was ahead there to read Doris and we went in together for a wonderful audition.”

That was with Jesse Collins, who was directing for this World Premiere of the play, along with Daniel Karpenchukas Arthur, all at Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Playhouse in June 2022. 

Back together for this Theatre Orangeville production gives them a chance to look closely at the details of the themes within the play, and Debbie Collins observed, “This play needs to be seen. We have so much more in common with each other and it’s never too late to start again. This play is very enlightening.”

It is such a treat, they remarked amongst them, to re-visit this play in new ways and see what there is to take home. We should continue to make new friends as part of that.

Said Mr. Collins, “This is a very different production from two years ago [at Morrisburg]. It speaks to such a wonderful friendship while we are so different from each other. 

“I go back a long way with Norm,” he added. “We met with the original production of The Melville Boys in 1984; this year is the 40th Anniversary of the play.”

As an entertainer, Ms. Collins is pleased to bring laughter and joy to the stage. 

Daniel Karpenchuknoted, “This play is about love and real life. Arthur won’t be dissuaded; from that, there is never a note of desperation.”

And how does Ivy feel about that? We couldn’t help asking.

Ms. Cherniack was ready: “Come and see the play and find out!”

For more details and to buy tickets, go to or call the lovely people at the Box Office at 519-942-3423.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.