Sometimes all the stars align resulting in a perfect moment. Such was the case when Just the Ticket, the third of Bard to Broadway’s summer offerings, recently hit the boards. When one adds up the sum of the parts - actress, director, designer, crew and script – the result is a production that ticks every box.
When B2B decided to do Peter Quilter’s play ‘Glorious’ in 2009 , artistic director Gary Brown recalls that he received an email wishing them good luck.
“Over the years, Peter has kept in touch…..in July of 2020 he offered a free perusal of Just the Ticket primarily because it is a one woman show and he was promoting COVID-safe scripts to consider.”
The script was chosen and Quilter was delighted to hear that COVID restrictions recently were lifted and the show would go on. Brian Mather agreed to direct, Kerry Campbell was cast and the rest is…
One-person plays can be a test for both the actor and the audience as they are really extended monologues. This can present an enormous challenge for the actor, who has to carry the whole show on his or her own back. For the audience, there is often very little in the way of set or props to engage the eye.
Enter designer Jay Crowder, whose sets have wowed Island audiences for years. He has created seemingly simple set pieces and signage – a bar, a beach area, an airport waiting room, a disco – on or under which Kerry Campbell can play. They are visually perfect, colorful and totally enhance the show.
Great care has been invested by the actress herself in choosing music (pre-show and between scenes), and creating soundscapes to introduce scenes. The textured lighting of Travis DeRooy also helps create the required atmosphere. Caron Byrne has designed costumes and props that are wacky, wonderful, and larger-than-life.
Special mention must be made of the backstage crew who moved so quickly and purposefully so as to ensure set changes were almost invisible. The director’s notes and dedication in the program are a nice touch, and Brian March must be very satisfied with how all the elements of this show have come together.
Kerry Campbell simply cannot put a foot wrong… if you don’t count the running gag of accent-prone Susan tripping on and off the semi-permanent riser in the middle of the stage. As three productions must collaboratively share the Village Theatre doing their shows in repertory, it involves negotiations. Rather than see the riser as an obstacle, the actress has made lemonade out of lemons, as it were, with hilarious results. The 90-minute journey through Susan’s life has allowed Kerry an opportunity to display not only her amazing capacity for remembering lines, but more importantly to reveal her pedigree as an actor – physical comedy, humour and heart. It is breathtaking. And no detail is too small. She takes off her sunglasses on the beach and appears to have no tan around her eyes. There is also moment with a dream dance sequence which left many in the audience teary. The music? A song from ‘Enchanted’.
The COVID requirements given both in the lobby and included in the pre-show announcements, instruct the audience to stay in their seats. Perhaps they can be forgiven for standing up at the conclusion of the performance. Driving away from the theatre down Memorial Avenue, one was drawn to the beach by what had to be one of the most spectacular sunsets – purple and orange – tinges of pink. A fitting ending to this day.