by Kelly Lee
Noises Off, a comedy about the production of a play, and the first play of the school year, opens Nov. 12.
Written in 1982 by English playwright Michael Frayn, Noises Off applies the concept of having a play inside a play. In other words, the play itself is ultimately about the production process of another show.
“The play is a rip-roaring British comedy full of love triangles, misplaced items, missed cues and other hilarity,” said senior Molly Heller.
Members of the cast actually plays two characters: working actors or actresses in Noises Off and another character in the play within the play, Nothing On.
Heller plays Dotty, a drama queen who frequently locks herself in her dressing room. Dotty ultimately decides to produce a show that she can star in called Nothing On. Dotty, in turn, plays a hospitable maid named Mrs. Clackett in her production Nothing On.
Within its three acts, Noises Off focuses on different aspects of the production and process of creating a play.
The first act takes place on stage during the dress rehearsal before opening night of the show. The act satirizes common problems and issues that often occur during dress rehearsals: forgetting lines, misplacing props and missing entrances.
The actors and the actresses seem to have no grip on the play and little idea of what is actually going on. Nothing On appears to be unfolding as a complete wreck as hilarious insanity and complications continue to get progressively worse and funnier throughout the production.
The audience should expect lot of doors slamming, confusions and arguments.
The second act occurs one month later backstage during a performance. The cast is in utter turmoil and misadventures take place throughout the scene. The ridiculous relationships among the cast ultimately result in a multitude of off-stage complications which inevitably result in on-stage shenanigans.
The final performance of the show is the quintessence of Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
The cast includes seniors Molly Heller, Zoe Fiske, Fiona Stout, Lucas Lebovitz and Sander Mora; juniors Zach Blickensderfer and Tom Mirovski; sophomores Monica Haase and Imani Ingram; and ninth graders Margot Zuckerman, Aniger Oriol and Matt Beshke.
Sophomore Austin Welch serves as the stage manager, and Director of the Performing Arts Thom McLaughlin is the director.
McLaughlin recalls the play to be one of his childhood favorites; he and his family thought it was one of the funniest play they ever watched.
“When I first saw it on Broadway with my family, I thought it was the most hilarious play ever. Both my dad and I fell out of our chairs,” said McLaughlin.
Noises Off was also adapted for the screen in 1992 by Marty Kaplan and directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The film adaptation was met with mixed reviews. Some critics believed that the play was too much of a theatrical piece to translate well to a film, while others proclaimed it as the funniest comedy ever written.
Amid the hilarity, some deeper undertones can be found.
McLaughlin said, “I thought that this play gives you an interesting picture of the touring play, where one investor invests a lot of his own money through hiring the director to choose the actors and actresses.”
But, the play remains as the epitome of lighthearted hilarity.
“Some of the actors and actresses in the play are in relationships with each other, some with several people at the same time,” said Haase.
“All of the actors, including the director, get their lines confused, and are really confused the whole time, which makes it all the more comical,” she added.
McLaughlin warns the audience to expect no thought-provoking plot or dramatic undertones. Ideally, the play will generate only laughter and widespread hysteria throughout the crowd.
As the cast and production team prepare for their opening night, they plan on producing a humorous and engaging show that will leave audiences laughing for days on end.
Welch said, “Noises Off is a fast-moving, witty British sex-farce that provides an amazing comic relief for everyone!”