On stage at Peninsula Players Theatre, America’s oldest professional resident summer theater and Door County’s theatrical icon, August 18 through Sept. 5, is Alan Ayckbourn’s futuristic comedy, “Comic Potential.”
In the foreseeable future, television actors are replaced with programmable robots, and Jacie, an android star, is slated for the scrap heap when a programming glitch is discovered. At very inopportune times in her soap drama “Hospital Hearts,” she develops a penchant for humor, of the slap-stick kind. When the writer kidnaps her to save her, adventures really begin!
Overseeing the direction of “Hospital Hearts” is Chandler Tate, an artistic genius who in his heyday directed sparkling film comedies. Now that his art form is too expensive, he finds himself at a large, soulless conglomerate, directing robotic actors in formula soap operas.
Carla Pepperbloom, the studio tyrant, brings Adam Trainsmith, the boss’s nephew and aspiring scriptwriter, to the set of “Hospital Hearts” to meet his directing idol, Tate, in hopes of learning the ropes of comedy.
Upon the discovery of Jacie’s comic talent, Adam and Tate begin comic lessons on the sly, in hopes of pitching a new show and bringing comedy back to the future.
Jacie interacts with people on the street, other actoids, waiters, studio technicians, hotel clerks and shop keepers. Does she have a glitch? Or is it something more? Is she becoming human? Does futuristic-boy-meets show-biz girl romance have comic potential? You bet!
Returning to the Players to play JC-F31-333, as the android is numbered on the assembly line, is Erica Elam who played Billie in the Players’ production of “Born Yesterday.” Elam’s recent credits include “Philadelphia Story” with Remy Bumppo and “The Trip to Bountiful” at the Goodman. She has performed with The Second City and is trained in comedic improv.
Sean Fortunato plays Adam Trainsmith, the aspiring script writer and Jacie’s love interest. Fortunato’s credits with the Players include “Is He Dead?,” “Cabaret,” “Doubt” and “A Little Night Music.” His regional credits include Drury Lane-Oakbrook’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” and “Curtains.”
Tim Monsion is Chandler Tate, who may get a second crack at comedic films.
Carmen Roman is cast as the number-crunching head of the TV studio. Roman’s recent Players’ credits include “Doubt,” “Be My Baby,” “Master Class” and “A Little Night Music.”
Players’ veterans Linda Fortunato, Neil Friedman, McKinley Carter, Karen Janes Woditsch, Kevin McKillip and Andrew Keltz round out the cast of “Comic Potential.”
Peter Amster returns to the Players to direct “Comic Potential” where he directed “Master Class,” the first production in the Players’ new home, as well as “Born Yesterday” and “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine.” Peter has directed and choreographed productions for most of the Chicago area’s professional theaters and opera companies.
The Peninsula Players 75th Anniversary season is sponsored through the generosity and support of Baylake Bank, which has been the Players’ financial partner for more than 50 years. This season is also supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Comic Potential” will be on stage August 18 through September 5. Curtain times are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 7:30 pm, except the closing performance September 5 at 4 pm. Group and individual tickets are available. Individual ticket prices range from $29 to $36; there are no performances on Mondays. For more information or to reserve tickets phone the Peninsula Players’ box office at 920.868.3287 or visit the Website at www.peninsulaplayers.com.