The future is FREAKY

  • Wendy Almeida and Heather McCormack in “Futureproof” this weekend at The Peterborough Players.  Meghan Pierce—

  • Heather McCormack, Emma Keating and Kimberley Miller are starring in “Futureproof” on Peterborough Players stage this weekend.  Meghan Pierce—

  • Kimberley Miller and Wendy Almeida in “Futureproof” this weekend at The Peterborough Players.  Meghan Pierce—

  • Bert Torsey as Robert Riley, owner of Riley’s Odditorium, a “freak show”  fallen on hard times in “Futureproof” by Irish playwright Lynda Radley. Meghan Pierce—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, May 17, 2018 7:57AM

A declining traveling side-show of oddities must change or fade away in “Futureproof” presented by Actors’ Circle Theatre in the New England premiere of the play in Peterborough this weekend.

“There is humor. There is some pretty grim stuff going on as well,” said Bert Torsey, who plays Robert Riley, owner of Riley’s Odditorium, a “freak show” that has fallen on hard times.

“Riley starts off as a very positive father figure to the whole troupe and then in order to survive he tells them all that they must change. Except that he doesn’t want to change. He expects them to change. But unbeknownst to him, he’s the one that changes the most and for the worse,” Torsey said.

“Futureproof” was written by Irish playwright Lynda Radley and debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011.

Kimberley Miller who plays troupe member George/Georgina, was attending the Royal Conservatory of Scotland in 2011 when she saw the play and knew she wanted to be in a production of it one day.

Though the play presents an old theme of self-acceptance, Miller said, Radley frames the theme in a “very refreshing” way.

“I’m hoping it makes (the audience) think. I’m hoping that it is a chance for them to reflect on where they are in their lives,” Miller said. “And if there are people in the audience who are trying to become someone else or trying to lose their identity and go with what the celebrities look like or try to achieve something that isn’t them -- I’m hoping it makes them think and realize that you just need to accept who you are and love who you are.”

Along with Miller’s character, Riley’s Odditorium is home to a troupe of “side-show freaks” including the fat man Tiny played by Chris McCartie, a mute mermaid played by Heather McCormack, an armless bearded woman played by Wendy Almeida and conjoined twins played by Tara Sabino and Emma Keating.

“We all can relate to these characters,” said director Mia Moravis. “This show really speaks to what happens when what we know is no longer.”

McCormack said the play isn’t set in any particular time or place and while it fits into the style of the “Victorian traveling circus” it also touches on aspects of modern life such as plastic surgery.

“It’s been a really interesting show and there’s a lot of parallels, not only with what we think of in modern terms of as the freak show circuit that we see, but the whole aspect of people being so obsessed with plastic surgery, people being so obsessed with changing who they are to try to figure out who they are. And in the end that’s not really going to help you,” McCormack said. “Who you are, is who you are and sometimes when you take away what makes you who you are -- that’s what destroys you.”

Keating said, “There’s some really funny moments … buts it’s really about people and being who you are. It’s really deep and it really makes you think a lot about how you’re changing for yourself or other people. There’s so much more to it that a side-show.”

 “Futureproof” opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors.

Reservations are recommended, and can be made by calling (603) 924-3876, or by emailing actorscircle@gmail.com.