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Shy Brittany now cracking the whip on stage

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Dominating presence: Britanny Ray, 24, and Alan Brooks rehearsing for ‘Communicating Doors’, being staged next month at the Daylesford Theatre by the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Brittany Ray used to be shy — now she is a whip-cracker.

The 24-year-old is playing a dominatrix in Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society’s new play, ‘Communicating Doors’.

“I have always loved theatre,” Miss Ray said. “I was the kind of child who had a crew of imaginary friends.

“But I was always too shy to try out for plays when I was at school at Bermuda High School for Girls.”

When she grew up, surviving life’s slings and arrows helped her to gain more confidence. She has had minor roles in BMDS plays such as ‘Arcadia’ and ‘Famous for 15 Minutes’, but ‘Communicating Doors’ is her first major role.

Director Nicola Flood summed up the play as “time travel, sex, murder, drama and suspense”.

The plot follows a sexual specialist Poopay, or Phoebe, who arrives carrying a bag of toys such as whips, chains and handcuffs.

But she soon discovers she has actually been hired to witness the written confession of a dying man.

This states that his business partner killed his first and second wives. The man then dies at Poopay’s feet.

The business partner appears and catches her with the confession. She flees through what she thinks is a communicating door into the next hotel suite, but it is a door through time.

“As soon as I received an e-mail about it, I knew I had to try out,” Miss Ray said. “I was away at the time. I had to come back.”

She is working towards her master’s in fine arts at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

One of the challenges of the play for Miss Ray was the heavy lifting.

“At one point, me and [actress] Emily Ross have to shove the body of the villain [Stephen Notman] under the couch,” she said. “He weighs more than both of us combined.”

Miss Ray said her own plays tended to be darker.

“This year, I wrote a play called ‘Scars’ for my mother, Debi Ray-Rivers, who runs a charity by that name,” she said. “When I saw it performed in London, as part of a class project, I knew playwriting was really what I wanted to do. I would love to bring it to Bermuda, although it is only a short play.”

If she could go back in time, like Phoebe, she would tell her younger self to buck up and audition for those much-coveted high school roles.

“I’d tell her to just do it,” Miss Ray said.

Ms Flood staged Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Communicating Doors’ to stretch herself.

“I directed a couple of BMDS plays, such as ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’,” she said. “Then Kelvin Hastings-Smith took me aside and said, ‘you’ve proved you can do it with these British television comedies — now you have to stop doing British television comedies and challenge yourself’.

“‘Communicating Doors’ is very easy to listen to and fun to watch. The timing has to be spot-on in these things. There will be a tear or two in the audience when it ends. There is a surprise ending.”

The play has just six actors: Alan Brooks, Kim Day, Stephen Notman, Miss Ray, Emily Ross and Ian Smith, who is new to the stage.

• ‘Communicating Doors’ is on at the Daylesford Theatre, Dundonald Street, from September 16 to 19 and September 23 to 26 at 8pm. Tickets are $30 from www.ptix.bm or from the box office an hour before the performance. For more information, call 292-0848 or see www.ptix.bm.

Brittany Ray, the lead in the new Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society play, ‘Communicating Doors’, with director Nicola Flood (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)