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Crown attorney turns homeless in community theatre performance


There are countless cases of a child being inspired by their parents’ interests to pursue similar activities, but it’s probably not so often the other way around.

GERALDINE BROPHY/THE WESTERN STAR
Trina Simms, who will be performing in The Swan Players’ “Gus and Sadie” this weekend, found interest in theatre through her son, Ryder Bussey.

But that’s exactly how Trina Simms got involved in theatre.

Her son Ryder Bussey, 9, has been an active member of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador in recent years. He has also spent countless hours doing voice and musical theatre lessons, which usually meant countless hours of Simms waiting for and watching him.

Then came the acting bug.

“I eventually figured, if he is going to be there, I must as well be there too,” Simms said. “It would be something fun for us to do together.”

Growing up in St. Anthony, she had no experience in acting prior to accepting a role in Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador’s “A Christmas Carol” in 2014. Her portfolio has expanded to include “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Gift of the Magi,” and “Romantic Songs from Paris.”

“They are all still pretty much small roles,” she said with a laugh. ”I just went in to audition and took whatever role they wanted to give me.”

A Crown attorney in Corner Brook, Simms said her profession has done little to prepare her for the stage. In court, her script is in front of her, she can ask for an adjournment if needed, and she is only speaking to a judge or at most a jury. It’s two different worlds, she said, prosecuting the law and articulating the words of playwrights to an audience of hundreds from a stage.

However, she can’t be happier with how things have turned out.

“It is fantastic,” she said. “I can’t stop going back. It’s so much fun. Some of the best people I have met, I have met through theatre stuff.”

Simms will be back on stage at the Rotary Arts Centre this weekend. She is performing the lead character of Sadie in The Swan Players’ rendition of “Gus and Sadie” in a double feature, which also includes “The Second Coming.”

Performing with a small cast, Simms will have to be at her best in the short play. She’ll have to get into character as a homeless woman looking for a place to stay.

The two quirky stories of community and acceptance are set on the streets of St. John’s. “Winos, hobos, a well-to-do Lady, and the second coming of Christ all cross paths in town — the second coming is tomorrow, at the Newfoundland Hotel,” says a prepared release from Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador.

While friends and colleagues have taken in Simms’ performances, she admits to avoiding conversations that could lead to anybody’s review of her acting ability. The same can’t be said at home though. She can’t avoid the opinions of her son, who is known not to mix his words in depicting his honesty.

“Oh, he’s my biggest critic,” Simms said.

Double Feature

The Swan Players present “Gus and Sadie” and “The Second Coming”

Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday matinee at 2 p.m., Sunday at 7 p.m.

The Rotary Arts Centre, lower level of Corner Brook city hall

 

 

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