‘Noises Off,’ talent’s on

Spring is almost here, and now that means the annual play is back at Viator. Usually taking place in the fall, this shifted schedule is the perfect reflection of the shifted direction this meta-production will take on.
This year the production will be a rather unconventional choice: “Noises Off” by Michael Frayn. This 1982 production holds a play-within-the-play concept, and while originally written for a British audience, the upcoming performance will offer an American twist. In this comical play, the audience can witness a mediocre cast trying to figure out how to put on a play while also overcoming many obstacles on the way. As the cast within the faux-show continues to rehearse, dramatic revelations, slapstick chaos, and lots of second-hand embarrassment ensue—and it can’t be forgotten that the giant set that will be able to rotate 360 degrees.
“We’ve never done plays like this, it’s really out of the box, especially with…all the complicated blocking and the variety of different characters” said sophomore and assistant director Jos Mendez.
It’s especially meant to get the audience up and laughing through its comic violence and snappy banter. Through the use of many characters with different egos, the audience is able to blissfully connect the different traits as well. Spanning from sneaky relationships to bloody disasters—yes, there will be blood—there is no character free of the dramatic spiraling of the plot. And the best part is that each character responds just as surprised as us real-world inhabitants would.
Many members of the crew used this relatability and fast-paced excitement as inspiration to join this rather abstract project.
“I saw [‘Noises Off’] before the last PIPPIN performance and it was so funny,” said senior Yingtong “Ruby” Ren, playing Brooke Ashton in the performance. “I got so excited and was looking forward to doing more shows!”
“I’ve always loved acting, but I was like, am I really ready to do a huge production like this?,” said senior Taylor O’Donnell, who will be taking on the role of Freddie Fellows. “But, you know what, this is my last year, why not.”
“I assisted in directing last year’s summer Junior Musical, Seussical, and I had a blast doing that, so I just wanted to do it again because of how much fun I had,” said Mendez.
Ms. Megan Gray, creator and leading director of the production and all of the school’s theatrical endeavors, made the choice for this play based on the motif of the 2022 musical.
“My theme for this year was ‘all the world’s a stage’. ‘Pippin’ was a show about a show and this play is also a show about a show,” said Ms. Gray. “It’s about a theater troupe the night before opening putting on a play and it goes horribly wrong. It’s very silly and very fun.”
This production called for a smaller cast than the musical, with only nine roles. However, it will be double casted. In a way, this limited cast allows for a better understanding of the play from each actor, as they get more time studying the material and experiencing the magic of theatre, with no shortage of stage time.
“Even in the audition room, I was talking to all of these super cool people who were auditioning, and I made some really great friends,” said O’Donnell. “I’ve never met some of these people before but we have so much in common. It was really something out of my comfort zone.”