Like a good film full of plot twists and layered meaning, The Other Place is a play that will leave you wanting to see it again. As star Nick Hunnings explained, it will require another viewing to catch parts and clues you may have missed.
As the play develops, the audience begins to piece together the story. “There’s a moment when people will begin to piece it together,” he said, “but there will still be questions — provocative questions. You’ll have to retrace your steps. There will be moments you missed and clues in the script.”
Hunnings plays the male lead named Richard who is very close to the protagonist, Juliana (Chilton Crane). She is a researcher who is on the cusp of a breakthrough when her life takes a drastic turn. Hunnings said that his relationship with Juliana “explores the psychological landscape” and adds to the drama of the play.
Juliana is giving a lecture to colleagues at an exclusive Cape Cod resort when she sees something that sets her on a path to unravelling a mystery despite conflicting evidence, uncertainty and incomplete memories.
“When I first read the script I thought it was a psychological thriller with twists and turns and puzzle pieces that you have to put together,” said Hunnings.” He explained that the story is one that unfolds slowly.
“The first half of the play has a solid pace and envelops the audience in the story — you’re put on a train ride before you know it,” he explained, adding that the second act begins to weave together the story and the pace lightens a bit. This story requires that the audience pay close attention. “Audiences will have to piece it together,” he said. “It’s a really well told story and it will be different for everyone.”
Although this play is a drama, there’s a lot of humour and the script is very rich, said Hunnings. “There is every kind of moment — so it’s very authentic. The dialogue is very rich and little hints are dropped along the way,” he said. “Every character is driven to discover the driving force of the play, and it all revolves around a central driving problem,” explained Hunnings.
The characters are all trying to piece together their own lives as they also try to piece together this mystery of familial fallout. “There are elements of redemption, elements of closure, of wanting to discover truth. They’re all searching for answers,” said Hunnings, adding that there’s also suffering, relief, and old wounds as each of the characters navigates their own path while dealing with the circumstances. Without giving anything away, Hunnings said that central conflict of the play is something that is familiar for almost everybody.
This is the first time Hunnings has been involved with a play written by Sharr White, but he said that he loved the content and structure when he first read it. “The storytelling is so tight and authentic despite all the twists and turns,” he said. “This play forces the actor to do some work and it’s the work that the characters are doing.” The setting changes quite a bit throughout the play, explained Hunnings, saying that these changes mirror the landscape and arc of the story.
Sharr White’s The Other Place has impressed audiences on Broadway and the Vancouver production will be directed by Christy Webb. With so much drama, this play will keep you on the edge of your seat. “It’s really an adventure — a constant state of discovery, and new information always presents itself,” said Hunnings. “The audience will be affected, touched in a way that is not necessarily the heavy cathartic experience, but in a subtle, humane, authentic way. They will find themselves familiar with the people and the story.”
The Other Place will be presented from June 26 to 27 and July 1 to 5 at PAL Studio Theatre. For more information, visit theotherplacevancouver.ca.