The play “Trevor” by Nick Jones is about a former showbiz chimpanzee on the edge of despair. Opening at the Santa Fe Playhouse on March 14 and directed by Monique Lacoste, “Trevor” stars Evan Dalzell as a chimp who once performed in commercials with famous actors including Morgan Fairchild. His owner is a woman named Sandra.
“The playwright specifically indicated that Trevor should not be played by an actor dressed as a chimp,” explains Lacoste. “The role has to be conveyed by characterization.”
Lacoste looked at different productions of “Trevor” to see how directors have handled the leading role. Some of them have portrayed Trevor as totally human. Others have made him into a chimp-like character. Lacoste chose to bring both animal and human qualities to the character.
While non-verbal communication is an important part of the play, Trevor talks all the time. The audience can understand what he and the humans in the play are saying, but the characters have trouble understanding each other. Lacoste incorporates some sign language into the script to accentuate the difficulty of communication.
“In so much of the play, communication between characters is broken down,” says Lacoste.
“Trevor,” says Lacoste, is a farce-like, tragic comedy filled with subtle humor and physical comedy. It was based on an actual event in which a Connecticut woman was assaulted by a pet chimpanzee.
Sections of the play take place in Trevor’s head where the thoughts and actions of a violent animal are revealed to the audience.
“Trevor” is performed by Dalzell, Marguerite Scott as Sandra, Stephen Rommel as Jim, Veronica Everett as Ashley, Robert Allen Henkel Jr. as Oliver, Evan Galpert as Jerry/PA and Isabel Madley as Morgan Fairchild.