Danielle Dunn-Morris, an actress and director well-known to Salmon Arm audiences, has returned to Shuswap Theatre to direct Odd Jobs, a play by Canadian playwright Frank Moher.
“It’s fun; when I first read it, it really touched me, it’s about dreams, people putting forward their wishes,” she says. “But sometimes wishes don’t transpire the way you think.”
Meet Mrs. Phipps, a lonely widow and retired mathematics professor, who is in the early stages of dementia.
“I don’t know if she’s putting out the wishes, but she’s definitely looking for changes,” says Dunn-Morris.
The two other actors in this three-person play include a couple – Tim, an out-of-work man who does odd jobs for Mrs. Phipps and his French Canadian wife Ginette, whose determined self-improvement wins her way out of the complaints department at Sears and into the higher-paying realm of systems analyst.
“He’s laid off and feels useless because he doesn’t have a job, while she is a lovely wife, who comes from a family that never believed in education,” says Dunn-Morris, noting Ginette proves them wrong by getting computer training and a job circa 1985 when computers were becoming integral to the work scene.
“These three people should never be friends: Phipps is interested in the universe and thinks it should fly apart but it doesn’t,” laughs Dunn-Morris. “As the three become more intimate, the young wife pulls the thread between Mrs. Phipps and the young man and he becomes the nurturer while she goes out in a power suit into the corporate world.”
Dunn-Morris says Phipps, who is coming to end of life, realizes it’s quite delightful to have younger people in her life.
“I was fascinated by what happens to people who bump into each other without ever being supposed to meet,” she says, pointing out the play is more of a dreamy than a drama. “It’s got some nice levity and we’re having fun in rehearsals.”
Tim is played by the versatile Uther Radcliffe, who recently played Mercurio in Romeo and Juliet and also performed in the wildly popular Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged).
Sharon Wickstrom, a former Shuswap Theatre member with 35 years of theatre experience and founding member of Asparagus Theatre in Armstrong,plays Mrs. Phipps.
Wickstrom appeared in Our Town for Caravan Farm Theatre and performed on the Shuswap Theatre stage recently in Half Life as part of the OZone Drama Festival.
Ginette is played by Sharlene Foisy, a newcomer to the Shuswap but with 20 years experience, particularly in musicals, with the Revelstoke Players. Fluent in French, Foisy is a great asset to her character.
Dunn-Morris was last on the Shuswap Theatre stage in Mending Fences and directed Norm Foster’s Kiss the Moon Kiss the Sun in 2011.
“I really love coming back to Salmon Arm and working with Cilla (Budda) is wonderful,” raves Dunn-Morris of her longtime friend. “She makes everything possible; she gets on the phone, gets the people, gets the crew around me and makes me feel smart when it’s actually them and I just poke a few things.”
It is a relationship producer Budda values just as much, noting the two have been fast friends since 1983.
“Technically, it’s a challenge,” she says of Odd Jobs, which has 26 scene changes on one stage.
Odd Jobs opens Friday, Nov. 2 and plays through Nov. 17.
Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 1:30 p.m., and “Pay What You Can” Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. (cash only at the door).
Tickets are available online at shuswaptheatre.com, or at Intwined Fibre Arts, 161 Hudson Ave NE in Salmon Arm. For more information go to shuswaptheatre.com or contact Kim MacMillan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-832-4094.