We’ve all seen too many movie and theatre slogans that promise “an experience you won’t soon forget!” Nine times out of 10, those are the shows you mentally ash-can before you leave the parking lot. Luckily, there are still a few plays that truly engage us, living in our memories long enough to discuss, question, and explore more deeply, long after the lights come up, and Scotland Road is one of those precious few.
This thought-provoking thriller, by playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, has a tantalising premise, a torn-from-the-headlines mystery, and enough twists and turns to keep us on a knife-edge of anticipation throughout the show.
Inspired by an actual tabloid headline, the play begins in modern times as a fishing trawler rescues a young woman floating on an iceberg off the coast of Iceland. The questions this unlikely scenario poses are as impenetrable as the iceberg itself: How did she get there? Where did she come from? And why is she dressed in early twentieth century clothing? The cold, hungry woman utters only a single word: “Titanic.” Her dramatic declaration suggests the impossible, that something from the legendary 1912 disaster has resurfaced from the depths of time.
John, a man obsessed with the 100 year-old tragedy, brings the young woman to an undisclosed observation room where, to save his own sanity, he must expose what can only be an elaborate hoax. Together with a reclusive last survivor of the Titanic sinking, and a doctor who has taken the young woman under her wing, John struggles with his own obsession to peel back the layers of the mystery. What he discovers leaves him with searing doubt, and a world of unanswered questions in the minds of the audience.
The play’s director, theatre veteran and accomplished actor Joanna McCauley Treffers, says that producing Scotland Road for the stage has been a challenging, hugely satisfying experience. “One of the wonderful things about this play is that it doesn’t provide pat answers to the mystery,” says McCauley Treffers. “It leaves room for our own interpretations. Everyone in the cast has their own take on their role, and on the ultimate meaning of the play.”
Scotland Road stars Jerry Logan, Mary Ann Majaury, Roberta Peets, and Jane Stott. It premieres at the Studio Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 2 for seven shows: Feb. 2, 3, 4, 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 5, and 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $22 (cash only) at the Book Nook, 60 Gore St. E in Perth, and $22 plus convenience fee at Shadowfax, 67 Foster St., (613-267-6817; shadowfax.on.ca) and Tickets Please, in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (485-6434; ticketsplease.ca) both of which accept in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases. Tickets are $24 at the door, and $10 at the door for students with ID. Attend opening night and save $5! For complete show details, dates, and ticket information please visit studiotheatreperth.com.