After eighteen months, Neptune Theatre has re-opened its doors with Becky Mode’s comedy Fully Committed.
Helming the production, Neptune’s artistic director Jeremy Webb is not only excited to be re-opening with this first production in Neptune’s two-act 2021-2022 season but is just as thrilled to be directing a play again.
“I can’t believe eighteen months have passed since Calendar Girls,” says Webb. “Now I get to work with the force of nature that is Breton Lalama and create this crazy piece for our audiences.”
Being able to perform in the first production since the pandemic forced the closure of Neptune back in March last year is not lost on Lalama.
“It is such a gift to stand backstage and have that pre-show feeling and hear the audience excited,” they say. “And then to finish the show and hear people clapping and feel that room full of energy. It’s really special.”
Lalama also understands the privilege of returning to the theatre when so many others are still waiting in the wings.
“There is a little bit of guilt but you can’t focus on the guilt because you’re not sharing the love and the hope with the people who are coming,” they say. “I am happy we’re back and to get to walk on that stage as the first actor back is not something that I take lightly and I just want to do right by everyone.”
Set in one of New York’s trendiest restaurants, the solo show sees the Halifax-based actor take on the role of Sam, a struggling actor making a living taking reservations.
As the only reservation manager who showed up for their shift on this particular day, from their dingy basement office, the overworked and underappreciated Sam deals with coworkers, friends, family, their agent, and some of New York’s entitled, wealthy elite who will stop at nothing to get a reservation at the ‘fully committed’ establishment.
Flexing their acting muscles, Lalama plays the central role of Sam and the forty other characters they come in contact with during this 90-minute show.
While Lalama says at its base level, Fully Committed is about a struggling actor working a part-time job to make ends meet, it also digs deeper.
“I think what the show is really about is ‘need’ and what you’re willing to do to get the thing that you want,” they say. “I don’t want to give away any spoilers but there are many different ways a person can get what they want. And while the show is funny it is also about who is willing to go the farthest and what that looks like.”
Tasked with playing all 41 characters in Mode’s comedy, Lalama says that while Sam is perhaps the toughest as they are closest to themselves in real life, they initially struggled with another role.
“I struggled with Jean-Claude because I am Quebecois and he’s Parisian French, so my French accent sounds like my family which is not Parisian,” they say with a laugh. “I hope that I have landed it.”
One of the easiest was the chef, who Lalama channelled from their work as a drag performer. “I made him kind of the drag character I play, which is just a gross baby man,” they say. “He’s just a lot of fun.”
Realizing how much they have missed being on stage, Lalama says it is sharing it with an audience that has driven him with this production.
“I can run around on stage for 90 minutes as different people, but if I don’t get to share that with you it doesn’t matter,” they say.
Besides, Lalama is convinced that Fully Committed is also something we need right now.
“It’s funny and you deserve to laugh and you deserve to feel, but not in a way that hits you over the head because we’ve all had a really hard eighteen months,” they say. “So let’s ease back into live performances and live interactions together with this ridiculous hopeful play.”
Fully Committed continues at Neptune Theatre’s Fountain Hall until October 10 with limited seating to accommodate physical distancing. Visit neptunetheatre.com for tickets and information.