“When I came to Brock I had done exactly one small part in one play. I had only ever seen two plays and one of them was Cats. I knew nothing about acting, nothing about theatre, nothing about life really. I was an English major planning to become a lawyer who thought that theatre would be a fun elective. When I left, five years later I couldn’t conceive of doing anything else with my life.” – Wes Berger, class of 1999.
Department of Dramatic Arts alumnus Wes Berger, who has just directed the world premiere of George F. Walker’s Parents Night in Hamilton, has certainly made good use of the 15 years since he left DART. He has an extensive acting resume which includes stage, film and TV. Theatre credits include Tarragon, Young Peoples Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Blyth Festival. He has worked as director on several Walker plays at this point, as well as Fringe and Summerworks shows in Toronto and projects with Lyndesfarne here in Niagara.
Parents Night is a one-act, three-character comedy/dramedy set in a Grade Three classroom. The action takes place in real-time, starring Sarah Murphy-Dyson as concerned and unhinged teacher Nicole, sitting down for a serious discussion with the parents of two of her most troublesome students. John (Matthew Olver) a wealthy and neurotic businessman whose wife has recently walked out on him and Rosie (Dana Puddicombe) a brassy and strong-willed working class woman with a drug-addicted husband, each star as delightfully defensive parents, loyally and valiantly advocating for their children against Nicole, one another and society itself. John’s son and Rosie’s daughter may be having their problems in Nicole’s class – mostly with each other – but when these parents go to school for a Parent/Teacher interview, their own problems soon bubble over and take over the classroom.
A funny, touching and truthful play for anyone who’s ever been a teacher. Or had a teacher. Or had a parent. Or wanted another kind of parent.
There’s still time to catch the show. Parents’ Night runs through October 12 at the Pearl Company, 16 Steven Street in Hamilton. For more information, go to thepearlcompany.ca