TR Robertson — If you are a fan of science fiction or time travel or comedy or murder mystery or thrillers, then the play, “Communicating Doors”, currently on stage at Scripps Ranch Theatre, is the play for you. Written by one of the most prolific British playwrights and directors, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, “Communicating Doors” will take you through the lives of one man, his two wives, a business partner, a hotel security guard and a young “sexual specialist consultant” and ask everyone the question – What if you could change one thing that happened in your life, what kind of life would you be living today?
Having written over 70 plays, winning numerous awards, including a Tony, Ayckbourn’s plays cover a wide range of topics and issues. “Communicating Doors” asks the audience to accept the premise that two connecting doors, located in a hotel suite of the Regal Hotel in London, leading into a storage closet, have become a time portal for several women,who are connected by a relationship with a gentleman, named Reece Welles. The play begins in 2025 and will skip back to 2005 and 1985. The revolving doors allows women to go back in time, but only forward in time to return to the time period they were living in. This ability will allow them to change different circumstances, which will become very beneficial since the women find themselves involved with Reece’s ruthless business partner, Julian, who has been involved in the murder of Reece’s wives, Ruella and Jessica. As the play begins, Reece, in 2025, has sent for a young dominatrix. Poopay Daysir, real name Phoebe, arrives, taking the place of another girl.
Photography by Ken Jacques
Reece does not want sexual favors from Poopay, but he does want her to witness and sign his confession and take his personal confession to a lawyer. It seems Reece was quiet ruthless in his business dealings and in failing health, he has decided to confess to his misdeeds. Enter Julian, who is planning to stop Reece from this. His encounter with Poopay leads her to try and escape, running into the closet door and the time travel sequence begins. Along the way, she will meet up with the second wife, Ruella, then the first wife, Jessica. Ruella will also have an encounter with wife number one. Julian’s diabolical plan has lead him to kill off the wives and plan to kill Reece to take over the company. Little by little, each of the wives finds out about what is going to happen to them in the future and with Poopay’s (Phoebe) help, they begin to change each of their futures, Phoebe’s included. Their changes will lead to changes for Reece, and most importantly for the women, changes for Julian.
The play requires audience members to listen carefully to be able to determine what time period is on stage. At one point, in Act II, cast members are circling in and out of the revolving time travel doors, at a dizzying rate. One of the funniest scenes occurs toward the end of Act II, when Ruella almost meets her demise, hanging from a balcony, only to be saved in a most hilarious manner by Phoebe and Jessica.
The Scripps Ranch Cast is made up of 6 talented, veteran actors and actresses, who go through many costume changes as they play their same role living at different time periods and their interactions with one another is smoothly presented. Playing the somewhat flustered dominatrix, Poopay, is Kate Rose Reynolds, making her Scripps Ranch Theatre debut after recently returning from NYC and San Francisco. Kate shows a great range of emotions as Poopay goes from time period to time period. Scripps Ranch veteran Wendy Waddell plays the “in-your-face” “tell-it-like-it-is” Ruella. Playing wife number 1, Jessica, is Sibongile Ngako, also making her Scripps Ranch debut. Playing the diabolical, sinister Julian is another Scripps Ranch Veteran, Paul Morgavo. Paul brings a most evil quality to Julian. The center of everyone’s attention is Reece, played by another Scripps Ranch veteran, Charles Peters, who is also on the Scripps Boards of Directors and their Outreach Director. The final performer is John W. Wells III, playing Harold the hotel’s security guard. Wells brings a wonderful comic flair to the bumbling Harold. Wells is also making his SRT debut.
Returning to Scripps Ranch in her role as Director is Jacquelyn Ritz. Her Production Team includes Assistant Director Eliana Payne, Set Designer Bob Shuttleworth, Sound Designer Steve Murdock, Costume Designer Lisa Burgess, Properties Designer Sue Givens, Lighting Designer Tabitha Wiebe, Assistant Stage Manager Darcy Harman, Julie Clemmons Production Manager and Stage Manager Charmaine Reed.
There is a lot going on in this play and at times a little hard to follow, but in the end, a play with an interesting premise. How many times have we thought, if only I could go back in time and change that one moment that occurred? What would my life be like today? Also, if there was such a thing as a time portal, would we want to change our past?
“Communicating Doors” will be on stage at Scripps Ranch Theatre, Legler Benbough Theatre, Alliant International University, until October 7th. Tickets can be purchased at 858-578-7728 or at www.scrippsranchtheatre.com. Next up for SRT is “She Loves Me” beginning on November 9th.