BY JORDAN NORKUS
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Sacred Heart University’s Theatre Arts Program is bringing Michael Frayn’s comical British farce, “Noises Off,” to the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, Nov. 16.
“‘Noises Off’ is a play about a company of actors, a narcissistic director, and a bumbling crew, trying to put on a well-oiled production of their play, ‘Nothing On,’” said senior Patrick Robinson, who plays Lloyd. “Due to clashing personalities, farcical moments, and a lack of common sense, it becomes rather difficult to do so.”
The play follows the struggles of the cast and crew through three acts: the first act takes place on stage during a dress rehearsal before opening night, act two takes place backstage during a performance, and act three takes place on stage during one of their final performances.
“The cast really worked together to put this show up in a short amount of time,” said sophomore Rose McKenna, who plays Dotty/Mrs. Clackett. “This is such an outlandish show with trying to make the characters as relatable as possible.”
Directed by Program Director of the Theatre Arts Program, Jerry Goehring, cast members said the rehearsal process has been both challenging and entertaining. Since the show is very prop and set heavy, early rehearsals were difficult because they didn’t have a lot of the necessary elements yet.
“The rehearsal process has actually been incredibly difficult. It’s the kind of show where you need a full set, a full cast, full props and full costumes to actually get work done and for it to make sense. It’s so hard to have all of that together, especially when we all have classes and work outside of theatre,” said senior Katherine Horne, who plays Belinda/Flavia. “It has been fun though. Now that it’s all coming together and we get to see that our hard work has paid off, it makes it all worth it.”
For some cast members, they found difficulty in trying to master the timing behind all of the comedic elements.
“Timing, timing, timing… So much of the play is dependent on the reactions to the actions the characters make,” said senior Edward Feeley, who plays Tim. “The entire show could be thrown through a loop if the timing is even slightly off.”
In comparison to the other shows in the Theatre Arts Program’s 2017-2018 lineup, “Noises Off” has a lot of moving pieces and situational slapstick comedy.
“I think the pace of this show really makes it stand out from all the rest,” said sophomore Andrew Patino, who plays Frederick/Phillip. “As soon as the show starts, it’s full speed ahead. There are sardines flying around stage, sheets thrown around, and constant comedic bits. The entire show is controlled chaos.”
Production Manager Chris D’Amato has been designing and building sets for the Theatre Arts Program since 1994. “Noises Off” features a two-story revolving set, which allowed cast members to be able to expand their skillsets in new ways.
“I’ve worked on big sets before, but I’d say the most unique thing about this set is how it turns around,” said Feeley. “There’s something eerie about seeing a fully furnished set facing the back wall of the stage while people are acting on it.”
Since “Noises Off” is a play-within-a-play, many of the cast and crew members said it reflects real life situations in the theatre world.
“The reality of theatre is that you have to deal with egos and large personalities on a very personal level. It’s very important to be able to work on the fly and be flexible when things don’t go according to plan,” said Feeley. “Remaining rigid to the original plan can sometimes get you into more trouble.”
Different critics from around the world have called “Noises Off” one of the funniest farces ever written, and many of the cast and crew members agreed.
“I think the audience should be on their toes,” said Patino. “There are so many funny moments, that if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss them. The controlled chaos of this show makes it one of the funniest out there.”
After weeks of rehearsing and preparing, cast and crew members involved in the production hope that the audience members enjoy the show as much as they do.
“The audience should expect to laugh harder than they ever have,” said Horne. “This show is hysterical. You don’t want to miss it.”
“Noises Off” opens on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts. Additional performances will be held Nov. 17 and 18 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 19 at 3 p.m.