Entertainment Local

Between the Sheets marks first Barrie-area performances for Theatre Georgian Bay

By Susan Doolan, Special to Postmedia Network

Between the Sheets stars Candy Pryce, left, and Heather Dennis. The Theatre Georgian Bay production unfolds with two showings on Saturday in Cookstown, and two more on Sunday in Barrie. SUBMITTED

Between the Sheets stars Candy Pryce, left, and Heather Dennis. The Theatre Georgian Bay production unfolds with two showings on Saturday in Cookstown, and two more on Sunday in Barrie. SUBMITTED

The parent-teacher interview; every mother, father, guardian has been there.

Even teachers have been subject to it with their own children.

Will it be a pleasant surprise, a nasty shock or a meeting of the minds?

This is where Between the Sheets begins.

The show marks the first Barrie-area performances for Theatre Georgian Bay, a collective of professional regional talent, and it features two local actors, Candy Pryce and Heather Dennis.

“We’re always on the lookout for good writing - good Canadian writing and (material) that our audiences and members can identify with,” Pryce said of Jordi Mandi’s play. “I’ve been part of many a parent-teacher interview.”

For Between the Sheets, she plays the role of the older parent, Marion, who has an eight-year-old son with some issues.

Pryce can identify with that, too, although her children in real life are grown and in their early 20s.

Dennis has no children yet, but she identifies with the teacher role because of her experience working with children for the past five years at Moving Art, a performing arts school in Barrie. She is a drama coach, teaching a musical theatre program and a variety of dance.

“It’s a compelling and gripping story; it holds your attention,” said Dennis, who plays the role Teresa, a Grade 3 teacher at a private school. “She’s fresh out of teachers college, (has been) teaching for four to five years and has a talent for it. I feel that the majority of students and parents like her. She is dedicated.

“I don’t think my character agrees with the parenting techniques of Candy’s character.”

There is more at play here than the obvious and the result is a bit of a power struggle - who is right and who is wrong - audiences will find themselves on one side and then the other with each character.

It is the first drama for Theatre Georgian Bay, a collective that held auditions in February 2016 to establish a company of 12. Their purpose is to bring classical theatre to Simcoe County and Grey-Bruce.

They also draw on the outside talent as needed - actors, singers, dancers, writers, directors, designers, technical staff, back-stage crew - to produce three plays per year in addition to a fundraising cabaret in June.

So far, they’ve done two Shakespeare plays, two cabarets and one musical comedy, which both Pryce and Dennis were involved in last fall.

Between the Sheets has been staged in Orillia and the two actors had a Q&A after the show.

It moved to Collingwood last weekend followed by two performances in Barrie and Cookstown this weekend before it wraps up in Meaford on Sept. 23.

Dennis was born in London, Ont., moved to Barrie at the age of 10. She grew up dancing, was on a competitive team and became interested in theatre though it and professional shows her parents took her to see.

She marked her first show with Pryce when she was in Grade 12 at St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School and landed a role in Kempenfelt Community Players production of You Can’t Take it With You. Pryce directed it.

A combined theatre and drama studies program followed through the University of Toronto and Sheridan College. She participated in plays and musicals in Mississauga, Toronto and Simcoe County and marked her first show with Theatre by the Bay in the 2015 production of As You Like It.

She is engaged to Richard Varty, who also has interest in theatre, and both have done shows together in the past. They will be appearing in the TBTB’s November show We Must Have More Men! Dennis is slated to do the choreography for one of KCP’s shows this winter.

Pryce was born in Winnipeg and came to Barrie with her husband to raise their children. She has always wanted to do professional theatre and currently works full-time in it, in a variety of ways, from actor to director and administrator. She was involved in drama in elementary school and marked her first time on stage in Grade 5, played Pinocchio in Grade 6 and was completely captivated when her parents took her, the only sibling of four children to see Twelfth Night at Stratford. She was 12 years old.

Pryce graduated from York University theatre performance program and also has her teaching degree. Over the past few years, she has completed more than 60 TV/film/voice-over projects in independent features, TV shows, short films playing at various festivals (including the Toronto International Film Festival), video games, training videos and commercials, the most recent was for the Ontario Nurses Association.

While her husband, Andrew, had an interest in theatre in high school, it ended there, but he continues to support his wife of 26 years. He also helped build the set for Between the Sheets.

Upcoming projects include appearing in TBTB’s November show We Must Have More Men! and she is slated to direct the fall show at South Simcoe Theatre.

Between the Sheets unfolds at the Cookstown Town Hall on Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and The Loft at Moving Art, Barrie, on Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Both actors will be in the lobby after the show to meet and speak to people.

The show is suitable for ages 15 and up. There is a profanity warning.

Tickets are $20, available in advance through www.theatregeorgianbay.com as well as at the door.