Time is of the essence in English playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s 1995 thriller Communicating Doors, opening this weekend at Olympia Little Theatre. The title is a British phrase meaning a passage between two adjoining hotel suites. The story begins 20 years from now, when executive assistant Julian procures the services of Poopay, a dominatrix, for his wealthy but frail employer, Reese. It turns out Poopay wasn’t hired for her usual services, nor will the evening go as any of them planned — because when Poopay steps through the communicating door, she leaps two decades into the past. That gives her and Ruella, Reese’s second wife, an opportunity to forestall three murders. Did we mention it’s also a comedy?
That’s a labyrinthine plot for one script, but director (and set designer) Michael Christopher is up to the challenge. A veteran of countless shows as an actor (Tartuffe, Seven Ways to Get There) and director (Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, The Tempest), Christopher met and married his wife Heather (Playhouse Creatures) at OLT. Now she’ll crack the whip as Poopay. Reese is played by Kevin McManus, most often seen at Standing Room Only Productions in Yelm. Meghan Goodman portrays the endangered Ruella, and (by way of disclosure) this writer embodies the menacing Julian. Completing the cast are Drew Doyle (Silent Sky) as the stalwart hotel detective, Harold, and Hannah Eklund (director of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche) as Reese’s first wife, Jessica.
Christopher approached OLT about directing this play years ago but hit technical walls. Then, he said, “I found out last year that Kathryn Beall was going to direct it — before she passed away. I’d been rather excited about the prospect of the show coming up. When she passed, I asked if they’d let me do it in honor of Kathryn. That was really the main driver.”
What: Communicating Doors
Where: Olympia Little Theatre,
1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia
When: 7:25 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays except Jan. 25;
1:55 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 19 – Feb. 4
How much: $11-$15
Learn more: 360-786-9484 | OLT