It’s 1958 and the future of Tranquille’s tuberculosis sanatorium is up in the air. It will close in a few weeks, and the livelihoods of those who seek treatment and work at the facility are in limbo. Everyone has a different opinion on the property’s future.
This is the setting of Crossroads, a production commissioned by Tranquille Farm Fresh, where an audience is taken on a tour of some of the buildings and tunnels that used to be the King Edward VII Sanatorium. Along the way you will encounter a cast of characters, including employees of the doomed establishment, a doctor, a reporter and the farm owner whose wife is a patient.
Starting at 8 p.m., the production capitalizes on the creepy elements of the abandoned compound while still keeping the integrity of the sanatorium’s good intentions. Although the atmosphere is eerie, the production is entertaining for all ages, and there are many tongue-in-cheek moments.
Andrew G. Cooper, a TRU theatre alum who now serves as the artistic director for the Chimera Theatre Company, wrote, produced and acts in the show.
Compared with last year’s show, Cooper said that this show was more exciting.
“We have more actors, we have more buildings that we go into, there’s a whole new set of tunnels that have never been seen by the public before, and the story is set in the 50s, which is about 40 years after the happenings of last season’s production. It’s a little more modern and has a lot of fun energy.”
Working with the land and the tunnels was a challenge, but Cooper was up to the task.
“There’s a lot of ground to cover. When I write different scenes, I’m usually writing for a stage, so the audience stays in one spot and they watch the show unfold in front of them. This one was a whole different experience to make sure that the audience was moving as the story moved. It was a really different experience having to explore that, but it was really interesting and really fun actually,” he said.
Cooper said that rehearsing in the tunnels has really helped the play come together.
“Being able to use the space and learning how to use the space has been a lot of work and a lot of fun.”
Some of the best moments of the production are when the actors interact with the audience in character. This makes you feel like you’re a part of the show. The fact that the actors make this feel organic is a credit to their improvisational skills.
At the beginning of the tour, the audience is split into two groups who accompany different characters before swapping and joining together at the end to find out the fate of the sanatorium and the people so invested in its outcome.
A highlight of the night is the use of a fully-restored vintage ambulance. The period-appropriate costumes also contribute to the show’s authenticity.
Crossroads runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from now until Nov. 1. For tickets, book through the Kamloops Live! Box Office. Private nights for groups can also be booked for Thursdays.