May 15

Lunchbox Theatre’s ’52 Pickup’ takes gambling to heart

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

In life, you never really know what comes next. You can’t plan for the next moment because you don’t know what that will bring. 52 Pickup, by Rita Bozi and TJ Dawe and the directorial debut of the 2018 RBC Emerging Director, Chris Stockton, is based on this concept. Throughout the season, Stockton has assisted in directions on four productions and now he is taking the helm. 52 Pickup is a series of scenes of the moments that make up a relationship and are written on playing cards. The actors throw the cards in the air and pick up the cards and play the scenes. Each show is different in structure but the overall narrative is the same. 

What makes or breaks this production is the talent on stage and the direction. Fortunately, Stockton has the talents of Ayla Stephen and Christopher Duthie, both actors who can adapt quickly to multiple changing scenes. 52 Pickup tells the story of two people who meet, and it details the course of their relationship through 52 scenes. The scenes range from playful to sad and everything in between.

It happens on a simple set designed by Scott Reid, so every scene can be played out in three different areas: two high chairs as the bar, a couch in front and what is made into a bed just left of it all. The backdrop features different photos of the couple. The cards that the actors pick up are used as their phones, which is a nice touch. Ellis Lalonde’s sound design features transition piano music, so when the actors are resetting for the next scene or are picking up cards, it tries to help to ease that transition. Reid’s lighting design also helps to set up each scene.

Duthie and Stephen are subtle and smooth with the ever changing scenes. They play off each other well and focus on the emotion on stage. Stockton’s direction keeps them moving and they throw themselves into each scene. However, the audience doesn’t really get the chance to get lost in the characters and the emotions, as it feels like the story is broken each time there is a reset. The way the play is put together means there is no room for buildup - that is the flaw in its design.

Every year, Lunchbox Theatre mentors an emerging director through their RBC Emerging Director Program. You can find out more information about the program online.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Laird Arts and Photo.


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