MELODRAMA AT ITS BEST

Story by Megan Leahy

Between the Sheets is a play you attend to see acting at its best. Not exactly pleasant or uplifting, nonetheless it is well worth the hour unnerving experience.

The play was born out of Nightwood Theatre’s Write from the Hip emerging playwright’s program, created by the young playwright Jordi Mand.

Under the pretense of parent-teacher interviews, Marion comes to confront her son’s grade three teacher. Teresa, the teacher, has been having an affair with Marion’s husband. Start to finish the mood is tense, to say the least. The audience feels a lot of Fremdschämen (German term for the process of being vicariously embarrassed by someone else, English really needs its own word for this) and Mand has sympathies flip-flopping uncountable times.

Tarragon’s small Extra Space theatre is loud and brightly lit. The actors have to be bang on, their changing tone and expressions being the production’s entire focus. Both Susan Coyne and Christine Horne excel, fully embodying their characters.

Marion (played by Coyne) is commanding the second she walks in the room, assertive with emotions in check. When she does break, it is powerful. Teresa (Horne) teeters between nervous and self-assured. Both have had their hardships; both are just doing their best; both spend the hour either hostile or crying.

If the production has a weakness, it is that it delves into too many issues. The audience is unable to fully form any empathy; every scenario interrupted by a new melodramatic climax. Marion swears too much at random. And at times the volume combined with the violent movements across the stage is impressively frightening.

While the numerous story twists may weaken the production, it is also what makes the play itself so strong. The play is wrought with controversial issues. Between The Sheets is nothing if not a conversation starter.

Between the Sheets is showing at Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Avenue, until October 7th.

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