by Michael Frayn
June 15 - July 7, 2001
Directed by Rhonda Clark
This hilarious West-End and Broadway hit
is a farce about a farce!
NOISES OFF recounts the misadventures of a third-rate British theater troupe as they tour a sex farce titled "Nothing On" through the hinterlands.
In theater parlance, "noises off" refers to offstage sound effects. In this case, the noises off are the backstage yelps and battle cries of the actors who are entangled in a sex farce of their own.
Playwright Michael Frayn gives us three separate glimpses of the company and their cheesy comedy.
In Act One,
the cast and crew stumble through a catastrophic final rehearsal of the first act of "Nothing On" as the clock passes midnight. Hampered by wayward plates of sardines, broken doors, a lost contact lens and their general lack of talent, they lamely carry on for their caustic director.
The silly plot seems to involve a daffy maid in an English country house, where one couple plans an illicit affair, another couple hides from the tax collector, and a drunken burglar and an Arab sheik complicate the action. Of course, the requisite slamming doors and dropping trousers are in abundance. At intervals in the botched rehearsal, the audience gets a glimpse of the actors' own quirky personalities and company romances.