ORLANDO — If you happen to notice a solitary coatrack with a few common items left on it, stop for a moment and take a closer look. Chances are those items have some unique stories to tell.
And that’s the premise, in any case, behind Pandora’s Coatrack, a play that will have its world premiere at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in May. The production includes two plays: “The Ghost Of Charles Mansion,” which is set in the laundry room of an apartment building (or is it?), and “Hello, Little Kitten,” about the apartment complex from Hell.
Pandora’s Coatrack will be produced as part of one of Central Florida’s premiere theatrical events of the year, the longest running Fringe Festival in the world, which runs from Tuesday, May 12 right through Memorial Day Weekend, ending on Monday, May 25. It’s one of the most highly anticipated theater events in the region.
What Is Pandora’s Coatrack About?
Pandora’s Coatrack opens with that solitary coatrack resting comfortably on the stage — and some items will be placed on it by our narrator. The articles of clothing — and one other, rather grisly object — help set a visual mood for the two stories to follow.
The first, “The Ghost Of Charles Mansion,” opens in the basement of an old urban apartment complex, in the laundry room where Vikki, a young and attractive aspiring model, is spending her evening getting her laundry done. When a young man named Jimmy enters and seems to take notice of her, they start talking about life in their building, until the conversation shifts to the terror being felt among women living there after a series of brutal rapes ….
In the second show, “Hello, Little Kitten,” a young renter named Wolcott, who lost his job and has only recently found a new one, is applying to live in a new building after being forced to vacate his last apartment. Not that he’s eager to live here; it’s a old, decaying building, not in the greatest section of town, and one that’s really only appealing because it’s all he can afford on his new salary. Wolcott is so desperate to get in that he ignores the fact that the landlord and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Brunstetter, appear to be strict, demanding, judgmental and bigoted. But under the philosophy that beggars can’t be choosers, Wolcott is eager to make them happy to move in as quickly as possible. And while he’s pleased to have a roof over his head, Wolcott’s accidental meeting with another tenant, a young woman named Rose, opens his eyes to just how bad life in that apartment is going to be ….
Who Created Pandora’s Coatrack?
Pandora’s Coatrack was the brainchild of Big D Productions and its founder, Desmond Flynn, who has been involved in Orlando theater for the past 16 years, including long stints at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show. Over the years he’s been a stage director, stage manager, and sound and lighting designer for numerous plays.
That includes having collaborated three times with Michael Freeman and his Freeline Productions on three shows: the comedy Copping A Craigie in 2011, the ghostly mystery Murder Sleep in 2016 and the dark thriller Hammered Dog in 2019, all three times as stage manager and sound designer.
After the run of Hammered Dog concluded in May 2019, Desmond commissioned Michael to write the play Pandora’s Coatrack, based on his original concept. Michael completed the play last fall, and it was one of the plays selected during the Orlando Fringe lottery last December. The play is being directed by Desmond, and the director and playwright are co-producing this show.
Michael wrote and produced his first play Hooked, in 2008, and it had its premiere at Orlando Fringe the following year. He also regularly reviews theater productions in Central Florida for Freeline Media.
The cast will include:
Sarah Marshall as Vikki/Rose
Steven Johnson as Jimmy/Wolcott
Todd Allen Long as Tony/Mr. Brunstetter
and Kendra Musselle as Cleaning Lady/Mrs. Brunstetter.
The play is 55 minutes long, and has moments of comedy, suspense, mystery, and horror. Although the subject matter is adult, the play is suitable for all ages.
When Can I See Pandora’s Coatrack?
Pandora’s Coatrack will have six performances during the Orlando Fringe Festival in May, and will be performed in the Teal Venue. Patrons will first need to purchase a button from Orlando Fringe which is needed for admission to all shows.
- Wednesday, May 13 at 6 p.m. (opening night)
- Friday, May 15 at 8:30 p.m.
- Sunday, May 17 at 11:45 a.m.
- Tuesday, May 19 at 10 p.m.
- Saturday, May 23 at 2 p.m.
- and Sunday, May 24 at 9:15 p.m.
Tickets are $11 each with discounts for Fringe volunteers and members of the military.
To learn more, contact Michael Freeman at 407-450-9098 or at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.