Starting tonight, theatre lovers in Halifax can beat the winter blahs with Neptune Theatre’s production of the hilarious hit comedy Having Hope at Home, the side-splitting story of one pregnant women’s determination to make a positive domestic impression on her parents over family dinner. Recently we caught up with actress Sherry Smith, who plays the role of Carolyn’s mother Jane.
SS: I started acting in Grade 3. My teacher called me Carol Burnett the 2nd and that was it. Professionally, I got my first paying gig in 1980 and have been working ever since, so 34 years. Mostly as an actress, but I have dabbled with writing and directing and I am a co-founder of LunaSea Theatre, a local company, which required a lot of producer work.
How did you get involved with Having Hope at Home?
SS: Marcia Kash, the director, had hired me to do Sexy Laundry at Neptune a couple of years ago. She generously offered me this role and I was thrilled to accept!
What are the challenges and rewards of the role?
SS: I play a much put together wife of a doctor, and mother of the young woman in the play. She's very proper, a little old fashioned and is desperate for the evening to go well. Of course, it doesn't, so she unravels at one point, which is a lot of fun to play. I am so far from being this type of person that it becomes the challenge and the reward; to be believable and not a caricature, and to walk in someone else’s shoes for a couple of hours. That's why I do what I do!
What can audiences expect during the run?
SS: This is the perfect show for the February blahs and post Christmas let down. It's a fun play with a big heart. It's about families and how all the different personalities must learn to accept one another and be who they are. I am sure most people will relate to at least one of the characters from the play - father, daughter, sister, mother, grandfather, in-laws, etc
What are your thoughts on the state of theatre in Halifax, and Atlantic Canada?
SS: I moved to Halifax 10 years ago, and in this decade, I have seen a terrific growth in self-produced work. The drawback, of course, is that the pot of money to support this work has not grown. But the work gets done and it's eclectic and innovative and covers a wide range of styles and genres. It's a very exciting time to be in Halifax! As for the Atlantic region, summer is a wild time! I challenge anyone to get to all the multitude of shows offered in all three Maritime Provinces, as well as in Newfoundland! There is so much happening!
What's next on your own theatrical agenda?
SS: Nothing definite work-wise… I am on the Board of WIFT-AT (Women in Film and Television - Atlantic) and we are preparing our Women Making Waves Conference taking place in March. It's an exciting gathering of inspiring women from the industry, networking and giving workshops and sharing their experiences and knowledge, along with a few drinks here and there! I also have a couple of kids that keep me hopping. It's all good!
Having Hope at Home
January 14-February 9, 2014
Neptune Theatre, Halifaxwww.neptunetheatre.com
Image of Sherry Smith sourced from www.lunaseatheatre.ca