Just in time for Halloween, the psychological thriller Pontypool is set to open at Players by the Sea. Pontypool opens Oct. 26 and is in production through Nov. 3 on the theater’s Studio Stage.
Pontypool is an adaptation of Pontypool Changes Everything, a book and film by Tony Burgess. The Canadian author has allowed Players by the Sea to change the play’s location to Jacksonville and include local references.
“It has been very alluring to work with the author and edit the play to make the setting specific to Jacksonville,” said Director Stephanie Natale Frus. Pontypool was adapted for this production by Kelby Siddons.
Players’ production takes places during a hurricane. The massive storm sends reports of people developing strange speech patterns and committing acts of violence. Radio D.J. Grant Mazzy and the small staff, trapped inside the radio station, desperately try to warn listeners about the virus and its unlikely mode of transmission.
“The story is about the human condition – putting people in extreme circumstances and seeing how they react,” Natale Frus said. “The show looks at communication and how we communicate through public broadcasting, public radio and media, which is really appropriate for our society right now.”
The cast features Terrence Scott, Amanda Jackson, Bryan Martins, Deena Davis, Austin Kelley, Kevin Turner and Rich Pintello. The production stage manager is Mae Davis.
Natale Frus says the team is focused on Pontypool’s fear factor, making sure the story doesn’t come off as campy or funny. The production team is partnering with the Sally Corporation to create an experience that draws from dark ride concepts.
“We are presenting a different type of theater experience and we hope audiences will embrace it,” Natale Frus said.
Pontypool has a non-traditional production schedule: Oct. 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, Nov. 1, 2, 3. General admission is $28, $25 for seniors, students and military. The Thursday night performance is a Student Night, where students can receive half price tickets with a valid student I.D. For tickets, visit playersbythesea.org or call 904.249.0289.