Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

Doubled Noises Off

By Russ Bickerstaff
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In high school, I found myself acting in More Than Meets The Eye--  a dreary, dated stage comedy by the inexplicably prolific Vermont-based playwright Fred Carmichael. As I and several other high school students clattered through rehearsals of what we knew to be a pretty bad playin the spring of 1995, our director had mentioned being in a production of Noises Off, (I believe at Appleton’s Attic Theatre) some time ago.  He spoke of how tricky the script was to get right. Set in the backstage of a staged romantic farce entitled Nothing On, actors not only had to keep two different characters straight (the actor they were playing andt he charcter that actor was playing), they also had to keep the same, repeated bits of dialogue of the play within the play from tangling up the production. A line appearing early in Nothing On, for instance, might show up more than once over the course of Noises Off. If actors weren’t careful, they could end up repeating a whole section of the play (Noises Off) that they’d already done. The strange, if vague, post-modern implications of this always seemed kind of interesting to me and I’m delighted to finally be able to see not one, but two productions of the Michael Frayn comedy in the very near future.


Carte Blanche Studios


On February 27th, Carte Blanche Studios will be presenting a production of the comedy in its cozy studio space on 1024 South 5th street. Audiences can expect the comic vitality available to younger, actors in the intimacy of an onstage space made to look like what will, most likely be a very small backstage space. Tickets are $15. More information on the show will appear in a preview column in next week’s Shepherd-Express. The show runs through March 8th.



Sunset Playhouse


Then, on May 29th, the much larger and more established Sunset Playhouse will be staging a production of the play on its main stage theatre in Elm Grove. Here audiences can expect a large, well-constructed J. Michael Desper set, more elaborate costuming and better production values all around. The relatively large theatre space in Elm Grove won't feel as intimate, but the production value of a Sunset show should make up for the lack of intimacy. Tickets are $18 at full price. The show runs through June 20th.



Auditions
And really, who wouldn’t want to be in a production of Noises Off? Okay, granted it sounds very exhausting and bewildering, but for the right aspiring actor, it could be a lot of fun. March 9th, no less than ONE DAY after Carte Blanche’s production of the play closes on south 5th, the Sunset Playhouse will be holding auditions for its production of the show. Who better to audition than those people from Carte Blanche who have already had plenty of practice with the play on a smaller stage that just closed the previous night? Okay, maybe not . . . in any case those interested  can show-up at Sunset from 7 – 10pm on Monday, March 9th.

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