Cast of Shadow Theatre’s Slumberland Motel revel in the collaborative process
It’s comforting to travel with someone you know, and equal parts discomforting to deal with a stranger. Shadow Theatre’s Slumberland Motel incorporates these nagging social sensations with an added garnish of humour, compassion and ‘70s Canadiana.
The new play, penned by local playwright Collin Doyle, is described as “a road weary comedy of disillusionment and dreams.” The cast couldn’t agree more.
“It’s all about a night that goes wrong, or right. It really depends on your point of view,” says Reed McColm, who plays one of the lead characters named Ed.
The story focuses on two down-on-their-luck travelling vacuum salesmen, Ed and Edward, played by McColm and Julien Arnold respectively. On a cold Christmas Eve somewhere in Canada, the two decide to take a break from their travelling commerce and shack up in a roadside motel. What seems like a quiet night quickly turns into an evening of hilarity and intensity, as the two reflect on their lives. Just when things seem to be calming down, the pair’s crisis hits an abrupt detour as they suddenly encounter a mysterious woman in their hotel room.
“I’m this ideal woman who just wanders in their room,” says Aimée Beaudoin, who plays the role. “When in reality, I’m kind of a fucked up person.”
From there on, the story revolves around the trio as they try to make the most out of their awkward situation, and find hope in their individual dismay.
“She acts as a catalyst for these two men … we all kind of rescue each other,” Arnold says.
The production was a welcome change of pace for all involved, as it’s a detachment from what the cast is used to. Arnold and McColm often work in large productions and Beaudoin is known for her work in sketch comedy. However, the cast has been enjoying the artistic freedom, as they have been working closely with both writer Collin Doyle and director John Hudson.
”There’s a difference between large scale productions and more intimate one’s like these,” Arnold says. “There are non-stop ideas being thrown around and a major collaborative effort in rehearsal.”
The intimacy of cast and crew helped Arnold and McColm form heightened bonds with their respective characters, finding parts of each one in themselves.
“These two men are being surpassed not only by society but also their age. The subtext in this play really hits close to home,” McColm says.
“There are some aspects of being an actor that are tough, and I relate to these guys.” Arnold adds. “As you get older you always have a little less energy.”
Apart from the intense nature of the characters, Slumberland Motel promises to maintain the ideal balance of humour and heartache. Themes of love, loss and longing will no doubt be present, and the cast is certain that audiences will enjoy their stay in the seedy motel.
Beaudoin has been enjoying her stay as well, both on and off the stage.
“Whenever I’m off stage, I get to take in what Reed and Julien are doing, but half the time I’m just falling out of my chair laughing,” she says.
Wed., Jan. 17 – Sun., Feb. 4