Two men will set out to fill 22 roles in a new play on at the Belfry Theatre this month.
Without changing costumes or missing a beat, playwright and actor Mark Crawford and actor Paul Dunn will entertain audiences with their joyful and comedic stage presence in what director Ashlie Corcoran calls a “heartwarming, touching, silly” play.
Bed and Breakfast follows life partners Brett and Drew as they inherit a family home in a small town and decide to uproot their lives in Toronto to open a rural bed and breakfast. The play incorporates the big city and small town realities LGBTQ couples experience as they navigate different communities.
The play reaches a higher level of authenticity given that Crawford and Dunn are real life partners off-stage as well.
Crawford’s inspiration for the play came largely from his past, having grown up in a rural town in Ontario.
“I saw a lot of articles leading up to this play that showed many different sides of queer people living in smaller communities. A lot of those articles were great and life-affirming, and some of them were not so great and pointed to the friction people had living where they lived,” he said. “I thought it was an interesting thing to tackle, and then to try to write for just two actors.”
In addition to no costume changes, Crawford and Dunn have no props and will mime to show physical objects and alter their voices to signal character switches. Corcoran, who has years of experience directing plays ranging from operas to comedies, said this type of acting is fun for both actors and the audience.
“[For the actors], it’s very physically specific … As an audience member, you’re using your imagination to see,” she said.
That imagination requires a high degree of theatricality from actors, said Crawford, noting it takes a certain level of specificity and rigour to carry out the roles.
“The show is really fun to do in front of an audience,” he said.
In Montreal, where Crawford and Dunn last performed Bed and Breakfast, the play sold well and was received with plenty of laughter from the audience. Crawford hopes to elicit a similar reaction from his Victoria audiences “and to make it a fun, joyful night at the theatre.”
Bed and Breakfast runs until Aug. 27. For more information or tickets visit belfry.bc.ca.