Shutter – Play Background and Synopsis
Shutter, written by local playwright Leslie Anne Ross, was originally written over 20 years ago – but many of the topics discussed in the play still resonate strongly with anyone who reads it. Love, loss, professional challenges, family dynamics. The work is semi-autobiographical – although there is a great deal of fiction in the story. While attending a reading of new works in Clifton, VA last year she was asked if she’d like to do a reading of Shutter. In February the play was read to an audience of about 60 locals and received some excellent feedback, and tremendous praise. As a result of the reading, The Alliance Theatre offered to put it into their next season as a workshop production.
At it’s core, Shutter is a southern family drama. Set in the early 1990s in the fictional town of Mt. Gilead, NC. – the story centers around Rebecca, a successful wildlife photographer. As the story unfolds we meet a woman who has reached a critical turning point in her life, we see a family’s dark secret dragged out into the light – and we see the strength of this family’s bonds put to the ultimate test.
Rebecca, having been swept up in a whirlwind romance, finds herself newly married and deeply unsatisfied. Having second thoughts, she flees her new husband, and their New York apartment – returning to her father’s childhood home in search of something which was taken from her a very long time ago.
Will she find what she’s searching for? Will this family survive Rebecca’s revelations? Come find out!
Meet a few of the actors bringing this new work to life.
Playing the role of Rebecca is Alexia Poe. When she’s not on stage or on film, Alexia can be heard as one half of the outlandish sci-fi-for-grown-ups podcast, Trekoff. She had a passion for acting at a very young age and has worked with many local theatre groups over the years. She can also be seen in several local independent films – Ninjas VS Monsters (2014), The Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller (2013), and coming in 2016 Trekoff: The Motion Picture.
When she’s not acting she loves to dance and is learning to figure skate with her husband, Darrell. Alexia has made some deep connections with the character she portrays – many of the struggles Rebecca faces will be familiar to women everywhere. Something she hopes people take away from this show is the importance of having real, truthful conversations with your loved ones before it’s too late.
Playing the role of Rebecca’s father, Gerald, is Leland Shook. Leland is a Certified Executive Chef and he stays very busy running his businesses when he is not on stage – Leland Shook Photography and County Line Coffee in Remington, VA. His dream role is to one day play Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman. According to Leland, the ONLY two things he and his character have in common are that they are both from the South and they are both human males. It would be fair to say the role of Gerald has been one of Leland’s greatest challenges on the stage.
Playing the role of Rebecca’s mother, Rachel, is Northern VA favorite Ellen Woodstock. Ellen does her best to find the humor in just about everything. Though she’s a Virginia resident now, Ellen used to live in New Orleans. If Ellen could play any role, she would love to be the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. Ellen doesn’t see many similarities between her and the character she portrays, but one message she’d like people to take away from this show is this: “Don’t let anyone take away your spirit.”