It’s a disaster in three acts that anyone who’s been on stage can relate to.
At the beginning of the run, you’re great. Your costars are wonderful and the best people ever. Then, they miss a cue or pick up the wrong prop. No problem, right? You can cope.
By the end of the run, their time is up and that one quirky habit you thought so cute six weeks now drives you insane. You never want to speak to your fellow actors again.
That’s what happens when a troupe and its crew goes on the road with their show, resulting in the comedy of theatrical errors, “Noises Off.” It’s season the opener for the Fairbanks Drama Association, debuting Friday for a three-week run at the Hap Ryder Riverfront Theatre, 1852 Second Ave.
“It’s a brilliant piece of writing,” director Tim Lamkin said of the script, written by English playwright Michael Frayn. “It’s a tough script. We’ve been working our butts off.”
“Noises Off” follows the antics of a theater that has taken their show, “Nothing On,” on tour. As the tour progresses, everything that could possibly go wrong in the production does — props are lost, actors exit at the wrong time, stage fright sets in and arguments and lost tempers ensue. Set in three acts, the performance allows the audience to see what happens on stage as well as what happens back stage, where directors normally like the mayhem to remain.
“One night, they’re screwing up and it’s manic. Then you’re backstage, and it’s entanglements and spite and pranks, and the play just falls apart but they’re keeping it together on stage,” Lamkin said. “Then another month has gone by and they’re just all exhausted with each other. It’s a funny piece.”
The set is the largest in FDA history, built especially for this performance to rotate on stage and showcase what happens both onstage and backstage. Lamkin designed the piece with construction help from Kevin Carpenter and Charlie Blackwell.
“If anyone out there has never been into live theater and is interested in it, this is the show,” Lamkin said. “You can set back and relax and buckle in and see how, in the face of disaster, the show must go on.”
Rachel Blackwell, who portrays Belinda in the production, also commented on the franticness of the script and pacing.
“This script is hilarious,” she said. “The gags are funny. The things you see the characters doing are ridiculous. It’s wild.”
Like the play itself, she, too, has had her share of mishaps on stage. She recalled her very first performance, “Crime of the Heart,” in which a door fell off its hinges when an actor was entering. The solution? Make it work.
“You’re like, what do you do?,” she said. “What I learned is you have to acknowledge it, and you go with it. That’s one of the things I like about acting, you’re always on your toes. And this play shows that.”
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or at twitter.com/FDNMfeatures.
If You Go
What: “Noises Off,” directed by Tim Lamkin, produced by Fairbanks Drama Association
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 19 through Oct. 6
Where: Hap Ryder Riverfront Theatre, 1852 Second Ave.
Tickets: Tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors, military and UAF students; $15 for teens ages 13-18. To reserve tickets call 456-7529 or go online at AKtickets.com. The box office opens one hour before showtime for walkup sales.
Dotty: Terri-Lynn Coleman
Tim: Tim Dallas
Garry: Chris Skidmore
Brooke: Amanda Hanson
Poppy: Sara Snyder
Freddie: Greg Hoskins
Belinda: Rachel Blackwell
Lloyd: Kyle Moore
Selsdon: Larry Moen