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Communicating Doors

By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Suzanne Loraine
July 22 to August 20, 2011

What if you were staying in a fancy hotel room with an adjoining room and the connecting doors didn't actually go to the room next door but, instead, took you somewhere else in time?  

Come see the latest Actors Ensemble of Berkeley production at Live Oak Theatre and watch murder, mystery, comedy and time travel come together in one of Alan Ayckbourn's wildest plays.

Poopay Dayseer, a twenty-first century Specialist Sexual Consultant, whilst peddling her 'services' to an elderly hotel room client unexpectedly finds herself running for her life. Her flight through a communicating door brings her face-to-face with her own past and Ruella--who apparently died under suspicious circumstances twenty years earlier.

Does Poopay's chance meeting and gradual friendship with the remarkable Ruella change the future for both of them--and maybe others? . . . Suzan Lorraine is well known for her work with the Masquers in Point Richmond and the Orinda Starlight Players, and returns to Actors Ensemble (she directed Holiday) to lead us through a time-travel romp of the finest order, framed by Ayckbourn’s witty reversal of the rules of time travel – and the battle of the sexes.

Ayckbourn's intriguing original contribution to the theory of time-travel is that if it's possible, then it's also possible to alter the course of events with the advantage of hindsight.  Ayckbourn has not lost the knack of springing surprises, nor of making us suspend disbelief in the impossible.

Communicating Doors dumps a sweet dominatrix into the middle of the lives (and deaths) of some well-defined characters that will scare you, delight you and befuddle you.  Directed by Suzan Lorraine, veteran director of numerous productions for, among others, Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, Masquers in Point Richmond, and Chanticleers in Castro Valley, the production boasts an excellent cast made up of Carol Dechaine Reyes, Claire Stevenson, Lee Voight, Jennifer Hughes, Mark Holobetz and Bill Chessman.

Performances are Friday and Saturday, July 22nd through August 20th at 8:00 pm. with a matinee on Sunday, August 14th at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. There is a special rate of $10 for groups of 15 or more.

Wheelchair Accessible.  Approximately 2 hour running time including one 10-minute intermission.  For more info visit www.aeofberkeley.org


Berkeley Daily Planet Review


 

Cast

Carol Reyes ...........................................Ruella
Claire Stevenson .................................... Poopay
Lee Vogt ............................................... Reece
Mark Holobetz ....................................... Julian
Jennifer Hughes .................................... Jessica
Bill Chessman ....................................... Harold

 

Production

Director .............................................. Suzan Lorraine
Assistant Director ................................ Debbi Sandmann
Stage Manager ................................... Krista Carter
Assistant Stage Manager ..................... Juliann Halvorsen
Producer ............................................ Kim Stewart
Set Designer / Props ........................... Dianna Schepers
Costumes .......................................... Helen Slomowitz
Lighting Designer ............................... Alex Rundell
Light/Sound Operation ........................ Michelle Chesley, Emmy Pierce, Jeff Trescott
Set Construction ................................. Jonathan Sanchez
Assistant Set Construction ................... Howard Chau, Nayla El-Haber, Ivy Feng, Nathan Lie
Board Liaison / Set Construction ........... Jerome Solberg


Krista Carter (Stage Manager) • This is Krista’s debut performance as Stage Manager, but this is not her first rodeo with AE. Krista was backstage and behind the scenes for Passion Play and the Winter’s Tale. She would like to thank Jerome and everyone else at AE for bringing theatre back into her life.Michelle Chelsey (Light/Sound Operation)

Michelle Chesley is about to start her first year at Harvey Mudd College, where she plans to major in Math, Physics, or Computer Science, and to minor in Theatre Design. She enjoys reading, ice skating, and solving Rubik’s cubes.

Bill Chessman (Harold Palmer) • Bill is almost as tall as he appears on stage. He took up acting in 1990 upon his arrival in California and since that time, has appeared at Actors Ensemble twice--in A Chorus of Disapproval (also by Alan Ayckbourn) and in Holiday, both back in the 1990s. He has also appeared on both sides of the San Francisco Bay, both sides of the continent and both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. When not acting, he writes plays for stage and radio. Some of his works have been performed in the Bay Area; Belleville, Illinois; Baltimore and Edinburgh, Scotland. His very short play, The Compliment, will be appearing in the Half Pint Play Festival in San Francisco in August and his radio play, He’s Mad, I Tell You will be performed by the Shoestring Radio Theater of San Francisco and broadcast on KUSF (http://www.kusf.com/), the Public Radio Satellite Service and the Broadcast Services for the Blind in August. He recently directed his short play, Convention of Spies for the 2011 Marin Fringe Festival. When not doing all this creative theater work, Bill plays guitar, plays with cats, plays with fire, and, to make a living, plays at computer programming. He’d also like to thank his wife (the lovely and talented Suzan Lorraine who directed this show) for her support of his endeavors and guitar buying.

Juliann Halvorsen (Assistant Stage Manager) • Juliann is happy to return to Actor’s Ensemble theater after a respite since being stage manager for “The Winter’s Tale” She is grateful to always work with such great people and looks forward to further her experience and many more opportunities to add some crazy to this wonderful theater.

Jennifer Hughes (Jessica) • Jennifer is excited to be performing for the first time with Actor’s Ensemble of Berkeley–a huge thank you to Suzan for this opportunity. She most recently choreographed and starred in The Fabulous Follies for The Vagabond Players. Some of her favorite roles include Ruth in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Mavis Turner in Stepping Out, Bo in Criminal Hearts, and Margery Pinchwife in The Country Wife. Jennifer would like to dedicate this role to her fiancé, Drew, for all of his love and support.

Carol Reyes (Ruella) • This is Carol’s first show with Actor’s Ensemble. She is very happy to trod the boards again after taking a couple of years off to earn her Allow Us to Introduce Ourselvesparalegal degree and get married. A few of the roles you may have seen her in include Rose in Enchanted April and Pistache in Can Can, both at the Douglas Morrison Theatre; Momma Rose in Gypsy at Masquers (for which she won a Dean Goodman Choice Award); Sheila (twice!) in A Chorus Line at Alameda Civic Light Opera; Miss Hannigan in Annie at CCCT; Matron Mama Morton in Chicago at Pinole Community Players; The Incomparable Rosalie in Carnival at Altarena; and two productions of Smokey Joe’s Café (one in Pinole and one at Stagemasters). Her thanks to Suzan for casting her in one of her favorite shows and her wonderful, talented husband, Julio for all his love and support.

Alex Rundell (Lighting Designer) • Thanks to AEofB for trusting me. Thanks to my Sister and Frank for supporting me. Thanks to my Parents for Love. Thanks to Brian. Thanks to the strangers who listen. Thanks to the sky that falls. Most of all, thanks to Priscilla, for something I still don’t understand… ... ...

Helen Slomowitz (Costumes) • Helen is very happy to be back at AE for another great adventure - she had her first speaking role an AE staged reading of “Dear Liar” this past February. She has designed costumes for many years now in both the Bay Area and L.A. for film & theatre. She’d like to thank each & everyone of the cast and crew for being so fabulous and a special thanks to Suzan for being such a marvelous Director.

Claire Stevenson (Poopay/Phoebe) • This is Claire’s first time working with the Actor’s Ensemble of Berkeley and it’s been a real pleasure as she continues to experience different theatre groups in the Bay Area. She was last seen on stage performing at Pittsburg Community Theatre as Mrs. Barbara Smith in Run For Your Wife. Before that she grew up on stage at the outdoor ampitheatre of Orinda Starlight Village Players, most recently as Joan in Ayckbourn’s Time & Time Again, and Julia in Christie’s A Murder Is Announced. Favorites from her 20+ year run with OrSVP are Kitty in Ayckbourn’s Taking Steps, and Susan Hollander in Woody Allen’s Don’t Drink The Water! Claire is grateful to her family for watching her rambunctious toddler during rehearsals and performances, and for this wonderful opportunity to be working again with director Suzan Lorraine and fellow thespian sweetheart Mark Holobetz.

Lee Vogt (Reece) • This is Lee’s fourth time to act on the Live Oak stage in 34 years, starting with The Shewing Up of Blanco Posnet by George Bernard Shaw. The last time was as Creon in Anouilh’s Antigone for the Actors Ensemble. He was recently seen as the Reverend Danforth in The Crucible by Arthur Miller at Broadway West in Fremont. He is currently working on a staged rendition of Ekelof’s City Bells.

Mark Holobetz (Julian) • This is Mark’s first time appearing at Actors Ensemble. He is a resident of Orinda and has played various roles with the Orinda Starlight Village Players. This is his third appearance with Claire Stevenson in an Ayckbourn play, having played Tristram in Taking Steps, and Leonard in Time and Time Again. Other roles include Clive in See How They Run, and Bobby in Run for Your Wife. Mark is thrilled to be involved in local theatre.


A Note from the Director

Remember the story about the guy who went back in time, stepped on a butterfly, and found things changed for the worse when he returned to his own time? Alan Ayckbourn has taken that theme and written a wonderful mystery/SF/romantic thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat! His characters get a chance to ‘step on the butterfly’ and make changes. And you get to decide if they are good or, well, odd. He rarely writes a “simple” play and, true to form, this one is filled with twists and humor and poignancy. I want to send out a huge Thank You to the cast and crew who have worked so diligently to give you a fabulous trip through time - sit back and enjoy!

Suzan Lorraine (Director)

Suzan Lorraine has directed all over the East Bay, at the Edinburgh, Scotland Fringe, the Marin Fringe, and on the radio. Currently she is Production Manager for The Masquers’ summer “camp” and Managing Director of Chanticleers Theatre in Castro Valley. She directed Holiday at AE in the 1990s and is delighted to return for Communicating Doors.


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    Suzan Lorraine

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    Suzan Lorraine directing the ensemble

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    Claire Stevenson and Carol Reyes

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    Lee Vogt and Mark Holobetz


 

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