Baylor > Lariat Archives > News


Comedy mocks making of plays

Nov. 29, 2005

112905_noisesoff.jpg
Courtesy photo
Huntsville junior Haley Phillips plays Dotty, Atlanta, Texas, junior Lincoln Thompson plays Gary, and Colleyville senior Lacy Lynch plays Belinda in Baylor University Theatre's production of Noises Off, a farce by Michael Frayn.
pixel_shim
by MAEGAN MCGOWEN, entertainment writer

If you like chaos, people falling down stairs and half-naked actors, Noises Off is a perfect and hilarious diversion.

Baylor University Theatre is in the midst of its production of the award-winning comedy by Michael Frayn, which was originally produced on Broadway.

The play begins with an English acting troupe's attempt to put on a racy, convoluted farce called Nothing On, which has very little plot or point and involves lots of sexual innuendo, slamming doors, scantily clad females and sardines.

The larger story is found in the relationships between the actors themselves. The audience is constantly left in limbo as the actors trade romantic partners, have random nosebleeds and play keep away with a bottle of brandy.

The play is divided into three acts. In the first act, director Lloyd Dallas (Tyler Johnson) berates the struggling cast in its final dress rehearsal, hours before the show's opening.

His faltering cast includes crazy housekeeper named Dotty (Haley Phillips), who can't seem to remember her lines; the hard-of-hearing Selsdon (Zach Kelty), who has a drinking problem; the ditzy blonde Brooke (Misty Foster); the frazzled Gary (Lincoln Thompson), who can't seem to get his words out right; the tenuous Frederick (Matt Benton); and the central character, Belinda (Lacy Lynch).

Lloyd's constant yelling interrupts the rehearsal. Dotty consistently forgets to take the plate of sardines off stage, hang up the phone, or leave the newspaper on set.

When Lloyd's frustrations reach their peak, Gary and Brooke enter, compounding the insanity.

They struggle to time their mad dash to the bedroom to escape Dotty's watchful eye with running into Frederick and Belinda, who are also trying to have a romantic rendezvous.

Two painful performances follow. The first lets the audience eavesdrop from backstage.

In the second act, the characters try to perform in the opening of Nothing On without falling apart.

It involves the slamming of doors and running up and down stairs, all within perfectly choreographed chaos.

As the act progresses, harmless bickering escalates into actors trying to kill each other. Everyone is incredibly tense, and the audience is left cringing, waiting for everything to fly apart.

In the third act, the pandemonium reaches a crescendo.

In the second act, actors are desperately trying to keep the play moving, but by the third act, they give up completely.

A fire ax becomes a weapon, doors won't open, the telephone is destroyed and the director bails. The backstage workers are forced to become actors, the director slinks back to witness the chaos and Dotty alternates between bursting into tears and trying to kill Gary with the fireman's ax.

Noises Off features nine undergraduate theater students and is directed by Dr. Stan Denman, chairman of the department of theater arts.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday in the Jones Theater in the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center.