Collapsing sets, prop flops and actors forgetting their lines: it’s a recipe for chaos and, of course, laughter.
“It’s a play-within-a-play and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong,” said director DJ Mills.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, the curtain rises on the most recent Key Players production, “The Play That Goes Wrong,” and it’s hilarious.
The Broadway play is described as part Monty Python and part Sherlock Holmes. It follows a troupe of fumbling and bumbling actors as they attempt to muddle their way through a 1920s whodunit.
“It has all of those stereotypes that you always have in theater, the person that always forgets their lines, the person who is so over-dramatic,” Mills said. Mills, who has been acting with the Key Players since the fifth grade, is making his directorial debut with this production. Mills says the biggest challenge of this play is, without a doubt, the set.
“The set is probably the most labor-intensive and the most technical set we’ve done for the Key Players in a very long time,” said Mills. That’s because during the show, part of the two-story set actually collapses. Cast and crew members call the mechanism that controls the collapsing set “The Beast.”
“This is probably one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous shows we’ve ever put on, because of The Beast and because of the insanity that goes on onstage,” said Jonelle Kop, show producer.
When rehearsals started a month and a half ago at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, Mills had a co-director, Jonathon Bogue. However, Bogue had to step into a stage role after one of the actors was injured during rehearsal. Bogue gladly took on the challenge. He saw the play on Broadway in 2017 and was thrilled to bring it to an Upper Keys audience.
“It’s very clever, it has a ‘classicness’ about it, that’s akin to maybe Monty Python or some of the old slapstick, more British comedies,” Bogue said.
Brock Gilliard will be making his debut with the Key Players but he is certainly not new to acting. Before moving to the Keys, Gilliard was a longtime actor with the Theatre Guild Valdosta in Georgia. Gilliard is looking forward to getting the audience involved in the play.
“I think we’re definitely ready for an audience because this show is so interactive,” Gilliard said.
This will be Jessica Garcia’s first time acting in a play. She is passionate about the theater and has always dreamed of performing in a show. In “The Play That Goes Wrong,” Garcia plays the clumsy butler.
“I don’t know my lines, I’m constantly tripping over things, feeding people things that they shouldn’t be eating or drinking,” said Garcia with a laugh.
“The Play That Goes Wrong” opens on Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center. There will be a total of seven performances. Tickets are $18 online and at the door or they can be purchased in advance for $15 at Key Largo Chocolates and Ice Cream, Shear Paradise, and PostNet Store in Islamorada.
More information is at thekeyplayers.org.