“Scotland Road” by Jeffrey Hatcher, presented by the APL Drama Club and directed by Sharon Maguire is playing at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel Maryland at the Parsons Auditorium. The APL Drama Club has been around over a decade providing an outlet for staff at APL who are interested in the theatre, providing an outlet for their avocation. The group uses both members of the organization and outside staff and crew. “Scotland Road” is an example of good theater in unlikely places.
The story is surreal. A young woman (Sarah Robinson) dressed in early 19th Century clothing is found floating on an iceberg in near the Hebrides Islands off the coast of Scotland in the 1990s. She tells her rescuers one word, “Titanic.” She has been brought to an institutional-looking room where she is cared for by Dr. Halbrech (Annie Marcotte) and two mute and deaf orderlies (Corey Felver and Jacob Greenberg).
It is not without humor, and the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat.
John (Steve English) is brought in to investigate this strange person to discover how she is able to perpetuate this fraud. The tabloids were chock full of the story at first, but interest now appears to have waned. However, John has his own ideas about how to break the patient. As they progress, what is real and what is not gets blurrier and blurrier. In the end, one almost expects Rod Serling, or maybe today, Jordan Peele, to come out and wrap things up. This is truly an intriguing plot, but it is most definitely more Twilight Zone than NCIS.
It is not without humor, and the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat. Hatcher pokes fun at our obsession with the Titanic and its passengers but uses that obsession to reel us into the mystery.
English as John steers this “ship” skillfully through murky waters. He is bombastic at the beginning, scaring not only The Woman but occasionally the audience. As the story evolves his inner person is revealed, and we see him go from a strong personality to one who has little self-esteem.
Robinson is often haunting, especially in the first and last scene, in the role of The Woman. Her glazed eyes, that become piercing later in the play, are indicators of Robinson’s talent.
Marcotte also does well in portraying a character with hidden stories of her own. Even though her character is uptight, Marcotte gives us subtle some hints of the chinks in her armor.
Alisha Hunt plays Miss Kittle, a survivor of the ship. Hunt is initially witty and seems in control, but allows us to wonder if Miss Kittle is what she seems to be. Greenberg and Felver provide some comic relief as the orderlies.
Maguire’s direction is tight and fast-paced. She allows her actors to develop their characters and allows the story to tell itself. On this minimalist set, she creates vivid pictures.
Rose Tringali’s costumes, especially those of The Woman, are historically appropriate, and I think the white nightgown helps create a ghostly feeling.
The haunting music is written and orchestrated by Chris Cooke, who also did A/V Support, and the score helps enhance the eeriness of this mystery.
Don’t let this ship sail without you. Take a drive to see “Scotland Road.”
Running Time: 90 minutes with no Intermission.
“Scotland Road” will be at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory at the APL Parsons Auditorium, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel MD 20723 until Saturday, April 13. All tickets are free but reservations are required to guarantee seating.
Tickets can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org up until 3 hours before the show and picked up on a will-call basis before the show. Please be sure to include which performance you will be attending, how many tickets you will need and if you need accessible seating.