‘Where You Are’ caps off Peterborough Players Grand Restart

  • Lisa Bostnar, right, Kathy Manfre, center, Katelyn Manfre, left and Pedro Ka‘awaloa, standing, star in the US premiere of 'Where You Are' at the Peterborough Players through Sept. 12. Photo by Emily Fitzgerald

  • Lisa Bostnar, Kathy Manfre, Katelyn Manfre and Pedro Ka‘awaloa star in the U.S. premiere of “Where You Are” at the Peterborough Players through Sept. 12. Photo by Emily Fitzgerald

  • Lisa Bostnar, Kathy Manfre, Katelyn Manfre and Pedro Ka‘awaloa star in the US premiere of 'Where You Are' at the Peterborough Players through Sept. 12. Photo by Emily Fitzgerald—

Published: 9/1/2021 5:06:28 PM

Glenda and Suzanne are sisters and you can immediately tell this pair has both a close and unique relationship.

The two are retired and living on Manitoulin Island, an island in Lake Huron, located within the borders of the Canadian province of Ontario. On this particular morning, Suzanne, played by Kathy Manfre, is complaining about the “bloody noisy chickens” that she describes as tiny winged beasts from the depths of hell. While Suzanne is still in her bathrobe, hair standing on end, Glenda, portrayed by Lisa Bostnar, is finely dressed having already gone to church – “the brick one” – earlier in the day and is in the process of going through her inventory of homemade jams.

The back and forth banter quickly turns to a more serious topic of conversation, as Suzanne’s only daughter, Beth, is set to return for a visit. Glenda urges her sister to be nice when Beth arrives saying of their relationship: “I’ve seen productions of King Lear with less conflict.”

The conversation goes from one topic to another, commiserating there hasn’t been a good story in town for months. There’s also a secret that’s alluded to, but one that isn’t revealed till much later in the Peterborough Players’ U.S. premiere production of “Where You Are,” which opened Wednesday and runs through Sept. 12 on the Players’ new outdoor Elsewhere Stage.

Before Beth arrives, you meet Patrick, played by Pedro Ka‘awaloa, the handsome veterinarian neighbor who is a big focus of Glenda and Suzanne’s conversations. He’s also found himself in quite an interesting situation, having been invited to his former fiancee’s wedding to Chad, a vegan butcher.

When Beth finally shows up from the city, taking a break from her hectic life as a doctor, the dynamic suggested in Glenda and Suzanne’s earlier conversation is brought front and center. And as it turns out, the sisters aren’t the only ones who have been hiding something.

What ensues over the hour and a half production provides one-liners that will have you laughing out loud one minute, followed by deep conversations that pull on every heartstring in your body the next.

The chemistry between Bostnar and Manfre is clear very early on, having worked together on many occasions. They compliment each other so well that if you didn’t know better, you’d think they were actually sisters in real life.

Playing Beth is Katelyn Manfre, Manfre’s real-life daughter, and the on-stage connection between the mother and daughter is so seamless and genuine. It left me wondering where the real-life relationship ended and the acting began. While others are discussed – Tina, Chad, Barry – Ka‘awaloa is the only other on-stage character and his portrayal of Patrick is one that truly completes the story unfolding before your eyes. Patrick seems a bit nervous, goofy and unsure about many things and Ka‘awaloa delivers a performance that begs for more.

The set is simple, yet perfectly captures the outside porch of the home Glenda and Suzanne share on the small Canadian island. Two different seating areas are the main gathering areas, just outside the home’s door. The details – wooden shelves, plants, an old school radio – are subtle yet add to the ambiance as you follow along the path to a true family connection that will leave you craving more of the story.

As the Players wrote in their announcement for the show “Where You Are makes you think and laugh about families, forgiveness, and falling in love.” And it couldn’t be more true.

Director Tom Frey said in the announcement, “The first time I read Where You Are, I laughed a lot. The second time, I was deeply touched. The third time I was proud of these four people for making some really good choices, especially in the light of all they’d been through.” I definitely laughed and was touched, and in the end, it was an entertaining journey to watch this group work through some lighthearted and difficult discussions.

Where You Are is written by Canadian playwright Kristen Da Silva, and was brought to the players for the U.S. premiere through a close relationship with Marquis Entertainment in Toronto, the organization behind the hit play, 2 Pianos 4 Hands, which Frey has both starred in and currently directs across the country.

Tickets for Where You Are cost $47 and are available at peterboroughplayers.org or by calling 924-7585. Shows run Wednesday through Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Trust me when I say this: it’s a show you don’t want to miss. Not only is it beautifully written, but the combination of Bostnar, the Manfres and Ka‘awaloa make you feel it was created just for them.


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