‘Noises Off’ opens in Stansbury

Jeff Christoff

Get ready for laughs and entertainment as a cast of nine Lawrentians presents Michael Frayn’s play “Noises Off.””In the opinion of many, including myself, it’s the funniest play ever written,” Prof. Mark Dintenfass, the director, said. “You should expect to laugh till it hurts.”

Within the play, a troupe of actors, a director, an assistant, and the stage manager face havoc as they attempt to stage a production of the sex farce “Nothing On.” Director Lloyd Dallas struggles to contain his cast, which includes Dottie Otley, owner of the theater company and sex fiend; Brooke Ashton, the quintessential primping airhead; the passionate Garry Lejeune; the drunk Selsdon Mowbray, and others.

Problems among the cast and crew flare up during the final dress rehearsal, both onstage and behind the scenes. Among other disasters, the cast members forget their lines and bicker about relationships, all while the quality of the show deteriorates.

Much of the show’s humor – and difficulty – comes from the farcical nature of the show.

“In many ways, doing a farce and making it work is among the most challenging things in theater,” Dintenfass said. “And the reward is that you know, from the laughs, whether you’ve succeeded.”

While the characters within the show provide multiple problems for the director, the Lawrence students playing these characters are doing an excellent job.

“These people are really, really good, and I think our production will be really, really funny,” Dintenfass said.

Auditions for the play were held before spring break. The cast has been rehearsing weeknights since the auditions in order to find the heart of the show.

“This may be a writer’s prejudice, but I think what a director ought to do is discover what the playwright wanted and be true to that,” Dintenfass said.

To say that “Noises Off” is well-known is an understatement. In 1982, the play won the London Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy, and ran for four years after that. When the play came to New York in 1983, it received a Tony nomination for Best Play. In 1992, the play was made into a movie starring Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, and John Ritter.

“Noises Off” will be presented May 13-15 at 8 p.m., and May 16 at 2 p.m. All performances will be held in Stansbury Theatre; tickets are available in the box office and at the door.