A Beth Graham production about the nature of mother-daughter relationships and the onset of mental illness is the latest offering by the Prince Edward Community Theatre group.
According to Director Bill McMahon, The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble is a memory play about the loss of memory.
The play is set in a kitchen, of course. It focuses on matriarch Bernice Trimble. Her husband has recently died and her three adult children display some well-worn character traits — ones audience members will recognize. Sarah, the eldest, wears her heart on her sleeve and has no problem speaking her mind. Peter, the youngest, is very private and withdrawn. Iris, the middle child, lies somewhere in between. She identifies with both of her siblings and can also get wildly frustrated with them. Above all, everyone is contradictory.
“The play isn’t about the disease or about the decision that Bernice makes. It’s about exploring the mother-daughter relationship, a wonderfully rich and complicated one,” Mr. McMahon states. “It begins with that relationship and then the rest of the family emerges, and we see the family from the middle child’s, Iris’s, perspective.”
The play is far from a simple exploration of a disease that pervades society; it also tackles the thorny issue of assisted suicide.
“The piece doesn’t take sides in the debate, even though the character Bernice is crafted into such an appealing person. We all love her at the end of the play. We love her hearty laugh. We love her wisdom. But, that doesn’t make it okay. There is still a strong lingering doubt over her decision and whether or not it is a selfish one,” he said.
The production stars Hilary Fennell, Lenni Stewart, Trisha Lawson and Carter Purtelle.
The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble plays in Milford at the Mt. Tabor Playhouse June 17,18, 23, 24 and 25.
THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE PICTON GAZETTE AND WRITTEN BY JASON PARKS