Travel back in time to a New York telephone exchange, circa 1919, as three Bell Atlantic “hello girls” grapple with the impending automation of their switchboards in the production of Switch Triptych.
Written by Adriano Shaplin and presented by the Douglas College departments of Theatre and Stagecraft and Event Technology, Switch Triptych is a mix of absurd comedy and political satire in production at the campus in New Westminster.
The play centres on Lucille, a first-generation Italian immigrant and inebriated queen bee, along with mild-mannered June, a British new hire who turns out to be a union rep at a time when America was highly suspicious of labour organization, and Philippa, who rounds out the triptych of phone operators.
Natalie Peters, a 20 year old actress from Langley is currently studying theatre at Douglas College, and appears in the play as Lucille – a character she said was quite complex.
“She’s extremely Catholic, extremely powerful, and extremely drunk. She essentially runs the show. She knows how to party and know how to rip someone to shreds,” Peters said.
“She is also a lesbian which conflicts with her religion, but she is absolutely positive God is on her side. She believes she is the protagonist and narrator of the story, everything is about her which may seem arrogant but for her it is just the honest truth.”
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Peters said she previously appeared as Brenda in For Never Not Always at the Surrey Little Theatre in The Diary of Anne Frank as Mrs. Frank in her grade 12 year at R.E. Mountain..
At Douglas, all the second year theatre students perform in one of two plays. In the beginning of the semester, students audition with a Shakespearean sonnet and a snippet of a song of their choice.
“The most challenging part of the production for me was tapping into the character, especially with finding her body and voice,” Peters explained. “She is extremely intelligent, much more intelligent than me or anyone I’ve ever met – and the language of the play is quite difficult too.”
Switch Triptych has bounced around the theatre circuit since 2005 features a cast of five.
Peters said after her role wraps and the curtain comes down on her current classes, she will continue to pursue acting, but more importantly to her, education.
“I definitely will pursue acting as a career but my favourite part right now is learning. I love learning new techniques and working in the workroom,” Peters explained. “After graduation this spring, I will be off and away to try and get work but I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.”
Switch Triptych runs in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre at Douglas College’s New Westminster campus (700 Royal Ave), Friday Nov. 8 to Friday, Nov. 15.
For tickets and show times, people can visit switchtriptych.bpt.me.
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