Noises Off was written by English playwright Michael Frayn after watching one of his plays from backstage: "It was funnier from behind than in front and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind." Six actors, one director, and two stagehands are putting on the fictional farce Nothing On. Act I shows us their final dress rehearsal, with the director watching from various parts of the audience. Act II is one month later, and the stage is turned around so that we get to see everything that happens backstage, while still hearing and catching glimpses of the onstage performance. It's a wild ride, and impossible to keep track of everything that's happening. Affairs, misunderstandings, drunkenness, tempter tantrums, and that's just backstage! Finally, in Act III the stage is turned around again and we get to see the performance, which has fallen apart. It's disastrous, painful, and hilarious.
|the cast of Noises Off|
as the cast and crew of Nothing On
If you've never visited the cozy Jungle Theater in the Lyndale/Lake area of Minneapolis, this is a good time to start. I've really enjoyed their season so far, and it looks like it's only going to get better with Waiting for Godot starring Nathan Keepers and Jim Lichtsheidl, and In the Next Room with a fabulous cast of women (and a few men). But don't wait for those shows, Noises Off is a very funny farce with a talented cast. Even though it's three acts long, you won't have any trouble staying awake for it with all the craziness going on in this fictional theater world. I've never thought about what actors do between their exits and entrances, but now I'll be imagining all kinds of crazy backstage shenanigans!