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Arts & Culture

Making All the Right ‘Noises’

Theater Students Juggle Chaos and Fun in Comedy ‘Noises Off’

By Kate Spanos Ph.D. ’16

Noises off

Photos by Dylan Singleton

The cast of “Nothing On,” the play-within-a-play in “Noises Off,” looks to their director, Lloyd Dallas (Kyle Starling ’20) in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies’ performance.

Missed cues, jealous lovers and a lost contact lens are just some of the mishaps bound to happen behind the scenes of a play.

They’re taking center stage as the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies performs Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off,” the award-winning British farce that follows a group of frenzied actors as they rehearse and perform the tawdry play “Nothing On.”

Theatre major Taylor Stokes ’20 — who plays both middle-aged television star Dotty and Electrician Erin, the troupe’s master electrician — said she thinks the show, featuring slapstick humor, exaggerated situations and entertaining love triangles, will delight audiences.

“I think it is crucial for art to have a political or social message, but I also think that it's okay for people to simply laugh sometimes,” she said.

The fast-paced show also challenges student actors. They’ve learned to stay in character amid the chaos of the comedic situations and perform in the dialect required by the English setting. The countless transitions in both “Noises Off” and its play-within-a-play also demand collaboration among all members of the team — from actors and designers to stage managers and running crew. 

“Our ultimate goal during the process has been to collectively explore and learn what makes comedy compelling,” said director Lisa Nathans. “We’re excited for audiences to experience the vibrant chaos and fun.” 

Scenic design by Ryan Fox (M.F.A. Design ’20), costume design by Ashlynne Ludwig (M.F.A. Design ’22) and lighting design by J. Mitchell Cronin (M.F.A. Design ’22), sound design by Bill Brandwein, dramaturgy by Christen Mandracchia (Ph.D. candidate).

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Noises Off Initial Selects 4 gallery

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