Image courtesy Dark & Stormy Productions
The cast and crew of Dark & Stormy Productions are a bit cagey when it comes to describing what happens in their latest production, the local premiere of Adam Bock's The Receptionist.
"It's a comedy. It is just highly enjoyable. All of sudden it is over and you ask yourself, 'What happened?' It just jumps out at you," says director Ben McGovern.
Bock's script "forces the audience to really lean forward as if they were eavesdropping on a conversation. When they think they figure it out, something happens," adds Bill McCallum, cast as Martin Dart.
"It reminds me, if not in content, of Doubt. It has the same thing of stepping on a ride and the next time you step up for air the ride is over," says Sally Wingert, who plays as Beverly Wilkins.
The cast also includes Harry Waters Jr. and Dark & Stormy leader Sara Marsh, who was tipped off to Bock's new play by her agency. Marsh found the script to be full of recognizable characters and that the playwright had a real knack for authentic sounding characters.
"The script is how I talk and how a lot of people talk," Marsh says. "It has half sentences and weird punctuation. It is not this elegant language that comes out."
To help the work's authenticity, The Receptionist will be presented in a real-life office on the fifth floor of the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art in downtown Minneapolis. The space includes the actual receptionist's desk, which has become the centerpiece of the staging.
"You kind of get used to theater inventing a space. In this case, we have an actual space: a real office where these things in the play could actually happen. They even left the copier for us," McGovern says.
The intimate setting means "there really is not a lot of room for lying, or you have to be a very good liar," McCallum says.
Using unusual spaces is a Dark & Stormy trait, as each of two previous productions was produced in non-traditional venues. "I love traditional theater. I was one of those kids in high school who said, 'I only like Shakespeare. I only like American classic plays. I only like working in fancy theaters.' Now that I've gotten to do all kinds of things, there is something about the intimacy of this that I love," Marsh says.
"That's what attracted me to the type of work that Sara was doing," McCallum says. "It is so different from when we are playing on the big stages in town. It is a different style of acting. It is fun to do something outside of your comfort zone."
IF YOU GO
Through Jan. 4
Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art
250 3rd Ave. N, suite 500, Minneapolis
For tickets and more information, call 612.724.5685 or visit online.