Witness reality shift live on ‘Round Trip Ticket’

Ever wonder what would happen if a play itself begins to shift into multiple stories along with its characters? 

That is what the theater department’s last studio play is all about. 

In this hilarious, original production written by MSU alumna and playwright Bruce Jones, “Round Trip Ticket” presents two actors starring in a movie as spies, who are undercover as gangsters and who are also roleplaying as actors, with the story containing action in form of sword fighting, tap dancing and fisticuffs. 

Currently a lawyer in Minneapolis, Jones himself has been teaching a playwriting course at MSU during the spring semester and has currently been assisting production on the revival of his show, saying how wonderful it is to see his play be performed by MSU students. 

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s great to see. It’s great to have a chance to update the play and to be able to see these new actors trying it and trying out the jokes, and seeing how things work and with the new director as well,” Jones said. 

Jones was first inspired by a production called, “The Real Inspector Hound,” written by Tom Stoppard, which motivated the former to write his own play in college and was then first presented in 1975 in the Pit Theatre within the Crawford building.

“It was about a couple of theater critics who were watching a play. And eventually they kind of got absorbed into the play that they were watching. I thought, what would happen if you extended that and it became circular, so that everybody was part of not only the play ahead of them, but also the play behind them? It just kind of formed itself into a triangle and I wrote it from there,” Jones said. 

Jones said the current version of the play was rewritten with the help of the cast and crew, in order for it to appeal to modern audiences and performers, mentioning how there were, “references to magazines that were present in the 1970s that aren’t around anymore and commercial jingles from TV commercials that everybody knew.”

“I went back through the play and there were a lot of things that I thought still worked. But there were things that didn’t work. There were pop culture references that nobody now would remember or the people who are coming up today wouldn’t have ever heard them. I had to go in and take those out, change those, modernize them to recognize the existence of modern singers and modern commercials and internet aspects of it,” Jones said. 

MSU freshmen Ryan Peltier and Arthur Gonzalez are set to star in the two lead roles of this fast moving comedy. 

Portraying the roles of Teri True/Toni Wayne/Thorn, Peltier said how she may relate to some of her characters’ qualities. 

“Teri True is a Hollywood actor, and she’s kind of a little short sometimes. And unfortunately, I relate to that. Sometimes, if I’m tired, I just am a little snippy,” Peltier said. “Thorne has a lot of respect for authority figures which I totally agree with, I think. And then Toni is kind of sassy and a little laid back and just goes with the flow; she’s not super worried about anything which on good days, I can relate to.”

For Gonzalez, who is portraying the roles of Stephen Squires/Snyder/Sammy Wayne, he said he was able to have the opportunity to build up his own, “interpretation of these characters without the expectation that they’re supposed to be a certain way.” 

He lists similar traits he shares with his characters.

“The big thing with my characters is a lot of them are very unstable, which I don’t know if I completely relate to but I kind of do. The three different characters are completely different and I feel like that sometimes. Each day I can be a different person. And here, I’m completely switching from a different person to a different person,” Gonzalez said. “He’s kind of having a hard time. He ends up messing things up from himself. But the nice thing is, he has somebody always there in every single universe to be there for him and that’s kind of how I feel in my life sometimes. Sometimes, I feel like I need somebody to help pick me up to get me where I need to be.”

Peltier and Gonzalez share what they expect on opening night and how with three remarkable stories shifting all at once, it’s a one of a kind comedy students wouldn’t want to miss. 

“I’m hoping we have a good crowd. I know it’s a little tough because people have classes in the morning. But it’s a great show, regardless. I think it’s a bunch of fun and it’s something that you can really deep dive into with different universes and everything and it’s just a lot of fun,” Peltier said. 

“I expect a lot of the audience to be very confused at first because it’s a very confusing show. But by the end of it, I hope they’re going to grow really attached to all of the characters because they’re all so funny and unique and special in their own way,” Gonzalez said. “So by the end of the show, even though you might not fully understand everything about the play, you’ll enjoy it anyway because I think not understanding it completely is part of the fun.”

“Round Trip Ticket” will be shown on April 17-20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Andreas Theatre at the Earley Center for Performing Arts. To purchase, visit https://mnsueventtickets.universitytickets.com or the Box Office from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Write to Anahi Zuniga at anahi.zuniga@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Minnesota State’s Theater Department is showcasing comedy, “Round Trip Ticket.” The show will play April 17-20. (Davis Jensen/The Reporter)

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