Wed | Oct 23, 2019

Call centre lifestyle gets called out in upcoming play

Published:Tuesday | October 8, 2019 | 12:07 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

Local theatre professionals have been telling the stories of and for the voiceless for many years, where ‘making light’ of a situation takes on a new definition. Writer, actress and producer Trudy Bell, best known for her roles as Melcita in the television series Joint Tenant and Sister Passion in Living Dangerously, is pushing comedy to the limit with her latest production. The name of the stage play alone will make some persons curious and others confused, titled Schampagne (pronounced scam-pay-ne) Popping.

It tells the hilarious, yet serious story of a team of call-centre agents trying to get by in life while having to deal with the stress and demands of their job. Their misery is compounded by a general manager who is very aggressive and speaks down to people. The team is overworked and underpaid.

“I have been in theatre for nine years, four of which were spent focused on building the Ignite-A-Bell brand, and it is one that is created to edify and entertain. That remains the aim for the latest production,” Bell said.

Since then, she has developed larger-than-life characters she plays on social media including Dashout a Rhode and Penelope, with several of those videos gone viral, few garnering over a million views and thousands of shares.

“Those who follow me on Facebook and Instagram will definitely enjoy Schampagne Popping as it has the same elements of witty writing, dry humour and dynamic characters,” she shared.

FIRST JOB

The writer-producer also shared that her first job was at a call centre as such and the storyline is close to home.

“I cannot say scamming was an issue back when I was employed to the call centre, but like the play, every character has problems. Sister Passion is a lady that goes to church but does not abide by principles of Christianity, and she brings tension to the call-centre team,” she said. “These social issues exist, and I do believe there are other things outside of sex and relationships that we can write about in theatre and produce the same kind of satisfaction.”

For a play carrying the depth that it does, Bell noted that it has a five-member cast and three-member stage crew, with each person playing one character for the production, which is scheduled to open at the Barracks Theatre at 53 Molynes Road this Saturday, October 12.

“Theatregoers will be treated to gut-busting entertainment when Sister Passion and the rest of the Ignite-A-Bell team hit the stage, and we have also decided to sweeten the pot by making the first show a two-for-one special where one ticket admits two patrons,” Bell said.