The first time Joshua Ackermann and Carlen Escarraga acted together, it was in Sands Secondary’s 2007 production of Guys and Dolls.
The pair played leading men Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit — made popular by Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra in the 1955 film — and “it was a really fun show to do,” Escarraga said.
“It was fun. But, to keep it real, we were Grade 12s with cracky voices,” Ackermann added, laughing, “singing songs that normally middle aged men would sing.”
The North Delta Reporter caught up with Ackermann, 27, and Escarraga, 28, before Christmas at North Delta’s Craving’s Coffee house, where they reminisced about their start in acting a decade ago.
And while they laughed about cracked voices and youthful performances, they had really come to talk about their newest acting partnership.
From Jan. 10 to 13, Ackermann and Escarraga will be performing The Zoo Story at Vancouver’s Havana Theatre, a play they were first introduced to during their post-secondary studies.
“I was really touched by the show. I was like, ‘I want to do this,’ but the time never came,” Escarraga said. “This time around, the time arose and we were like, ‘Hey, let’s do the show we wanted to do 10 years ago.’”
The theme of the play, Ackermann said, is connection and that’s what they hope to showcase in their performance.
“There’s a homelessness problem in Vancouver, and there has been for a while,” Ackermann said.
“People tend to ignore each other, and I think it’s out of fear and other mixed emotions, some of which may be status structure.
“And this play tends to break through those barriers that keep us apart as human beings. Because that’s what we are, is human beings.”
In the one-act drama, put on by Escarraga’s production company Sticks and Stones, Ackermann will be playing rich publisher Peter and Escarraga will be performing as poor man Jerry. The play begins when Jerry sits down next to Peter on a park bench, exclaiming “I’ve been to the zoo!”
“I think if this was to happen in a real life situation, I think Peter would just get up off his bench,” Escarraga said. “But there is something that happens that keeps Peter there, enticed to listen more to Jerry as Jerry tries to be friends with Peter through the show.”
“There’s something in that interaction between Peter and Jerry where it taps into a need for human connection. And it’s not necessarily sexual, it’s not necessarily spiritual, it’s not necessarily cultural,” Ackermann added.
“It’s just something across the board. Something. There’s something in there for everybody.”
The Zoo Story will be performed at Havana Theatre (inside Havana Restaurant, 1212 Commercial Dr.) from Jan. 10 to 13. Tickets are $20 and available at the door or online at brownpapertickets.com/event/3208857.