Media pundits have called it "`Psycho' meets `Back to the Future'," which isn't a bad way of describing Communicating Doors, Alan Ayckbourn's comedy-thriller, now receiving a regional staging at Silver Spring, MD's Round House Theatre. Previews begin Nov. 3 for the show, which opens Nov. 8 and runs through Nov. 28.
Mary Louise Parker and, later, Anne Bobby starred in the 1998 Off Broadway mounting of the play, which takes place in one hotel room during three different time periods, 1974, 1994 and 2014. The title refers to the fact that walking through the room's doors facilitates the change from one era to another.
The gimmick turns into a lifesaver for Poopay (Jane Beard), a prostitute hired by an old man and his evil servant who plan to murder her after the evening's entertainment. She escapes to two previous eras, only to find two other women threatened by the duo.
Co-starring in the show are Jennifer Gerdts, Kathryn Kelley, Marty Lodge, Mitchell Hebert and Delaney Williams. Nick Olcott directs Communicating Doors, which features sets by Tony Cisek, lighting by Ayun Fedorcha, sound by Daniel Schrader and costumes by Rosemary Pardee.
Other Ayckbourn plays include The Norman Conquests, Woman in Mind, Absurd Person Singular, Henceforward, Bedroom Farce and A Small Family Business. Communicating Doors won the 1996 Writers Guild Award for Best West End Play and a 1997 Best Comedy "Moliere Award" in Paris. The play is currently receiving another, unrelated regional mounting, at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre. For tickets ($21-$28) for Communicating Doors at Round House Theatre, 12210 Bushey Drive, Suite 101 in Silver Spring, call (301) 933 1644.
--By David Lefkowitz