Noises Off at The Church Hill Theatre
Performance: Noises Off
When: Sept. 11-27, Fri. & Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m.
“It’s a farse, physical comedy, rip roaringly hilarious, all kinds of crazy stuff is happening,” remarked Nina Sharp, administrative assistant at Church Hill Theatre, about their upcoming play.
‘Noises Off’ will debut their 2015 performance on Friday, Sept. 11. Shelagh Grasso will be directing the performance, alongside her husband, Carmen Grasso, who designed the set. The 1982 play was created by Michael Frayn including scenes with ‘marital affairs and pointing fingers,’ according to Sharp.
“It’s definitely really funny, and it will be a great time,” Sharp said.
According to Church Hill Theatre, the cast includes all local actors and is volunteer based, meaning the public can enjoy a lot of familiar faces.
Sharp says the group did something that they have never done before, which includes using a huge set.
“What’s cool about it is, it’s a huge set, which is pretty risky for us because it has to turn around,” Sharp said. “It’s stunning just to see it all – it takes up the whole stage. They had to add on thrusts to give the players more room,” says Sharp.
Church Hill Theatre members encourage the public to come enjoy this play. On opening night, the audience can enjoy buy one, get one free tickets.
Characters of ‘Noises Off’ Played at Church Hill Theatre
- Lloyd Dallas: Will Robinson
- Dotty Otley: Maggie Greay
- Brooke Ashton: Heather Oland
- Poppy Norton-Taylor: Cristine Kinlock
‘Noises Off’ is a 1982 play by the English playwright, Michael Frayn. He came up with the idea while watching ‘The Two of Us,’ remarking “It was funnier from behind than in front, and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind.”
The prototype, a short-lived one-act play called ‘Exits‘, was written and performed in 1977. Frayn later expanded this into what would become ‘Noises Off,’ taking its title from the theatrical stage direction, indicating sounds coming from offstage.
Set in a 16th-century posset mill, it is the type of play in which young girls run about in their underwear, old men drop their trousers, and many doors continually bang open and shut.
- Set at the dress rehearsal at the (fictional) Grand Theatre in Weston-super-Mare; the cast are hopelessly unready, and baffled by entrances and exits, missed cues, missed lines, and bothersome props, including several plates of sardines.
- Shows a Wednesday matinée performance one month later, at the (again fictional) Theatre Royal in Ashton-under-Lyne.
- The play is seen from backstage, providing a view that emphasizes the deteriorating relationships between the cast that lead to offstage shenanigans and onstage bedlam, falling into disorder before the curtain falls.
- A performance near the end of the ten-week run, at the (still fictional) Municipal Theatre in Stockton-on-Tees, when personal friction has continued to increase.
- Actors remain determined at all costs to cover up the mounting series of mishaps, but it is not long before the plot has to be abandoned entirely and the more coherent characters are obliged to take a lead in ad-libbing somehow towards some sort of end.
Much of the comedy emerges from the subtle variations in each version as character flaws play off each other off-stage to undermine on-stage performance, with a great deal of slapstick. The contrast between players’ on-stage and off-stage personalities is also a source of comic dissonance.
Church Hill Theatre
The Church Hill Theatre is in a building that dates back to the 1920’s with rich history and tradition. The Church Hill Theatre itself has seen hundreds of performances over the years including ‘Dracula,’ ‘Rumors‘ and ‘Into the Woods‘, just to name a few.
Church Hill Theatre has an experienced staff including Washington College graduates in Theatre Arts, Liz Clarke and Nina Sharp. Liz and Nina are active in Eastern Shore theatres, on stage and as directors and producers.
The theatre is ‘dedicated to the creation and presentation of quality performance and educational opportunities for all members of our diverse community.’ The theatres’ goals include enhancing and supporting the appreciation of the performing arts, enhancing feelings of self-esteem, creativity and confidence in school age children and adults through classes in the performing arts and increasing opportunities in and accessibility to cultural events within our rural community.