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Jennifer Regan masters the art of the pratfall in TheatreVirginia's "Communicating Doors." 

Fall Girl

"Communicating Doors," the current offering from TheatreVirginia promises to be a wild and woolly time for audiences and actors alike. Set in a hotel, the play is described by theater staff as "a time-traveling farce linking a murder mystery with some hilarious hanky-panky." It follows the story of a dominatrix who is called upon to "service" an elderly man and gets an unexpected earful when he confesses to two murders. She hides in a closet, doors spin, and the scene is changed to 20 years earlier, and then to 20 years before that. Characters leap back and forth in time, trying to prevent the murders from taking place.

As it happens, the play demands a lot of leaping in general. Says Jennifer Regan, who plays Poopay (the dominatrix): "I fall a lot in this show. Everybody falls or bumps into something. … I fall under furniture, I fall behind furniture, I fall down steps, I fall over balconies. Any object in the room, you'll see me go over it at some point."

Regan even fell at her audition. "In the audition scene," she explains, "we were supposed to be sneaking into a dark room and tripping on a piece of furniture. That's what starts the scene." So when her turn came to trip, she says, "I threw myself flat onto the floor." Fellow cast member Julie Fulcher reports that director George Black was worried that Regan had broken her neck. "I didn't know that," protests Regan. "I didn't know that he had been concerned. … I figured he'd be watching women fall down all day." She knew she'd made an impression on Black, though, after the callbacks. "I read the scene with four or five actors," she recalls, "and I kept throwing myself to the floor each time. At the end of the callback, [Black] just looked at me and said 'You are really weird.'"

Regan says there are nine intentional falls in the play, and that the biggest comes in the second act, right toward the end of the play. "If you count more than nine, then get suspicious," she
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