What happens backstage doesn’t necessarily stay backstage.
At least that’s the truth for the nine-member cast of Fourteenth Grade Players’ production of “Noises Off”, happening this weekend in the Lisner Downstage.
“People think they know what happens backstage during a show, but they have no idea how the rehearsal process is,” said senior Eb Richardson, who is the director of the play. “I think this show is pretty accurate [in terms of portraying the truth].”
The comedy, which has been on Broadway and had a movie adaptation, is an in depth look at the making of a theatrical production. It revolves around a director who must direct his actors in a production of the fictional show, “Nothing On”, and therefore becomes a sort of play-within-a-play. As any director can attest, the drama and comedy that happens before a show opens can sometimes be just as entertaining as the play that is being performed.
The plot was something that Richardson felt personally connected to.
“I have been backstage all of my life, so I feel like we’re all on the same page [about what goes on in the making of a show],” she said.
The actors, who are gearing up to each play a character who is playing another role, also found some commonalities between the “Noises Off” figures and themselves.
“We have had so many conversations which mirror almost identically conversations that our characters have,” says A.P. Carroll, a junior who plays the part of Selsdon Mowbray.
It is slapstick in nature and displays an often confusing, mostly truthful and always comedic reflection on the people who devote their lives to theatre.
Sophomore actor Ian Franzier also found that the script is synonymous with his own experience in the rehearsal process.
“We are living the play,” Franzier said.
The set added another dimension of hilarity to the plotlines. The first and second acts are located in two very different settings in an effort to show the contrast in the real and the performed. The original set rotates 180 degrees and emphasizes the difference between what the audience sees and what is really taking place behind the curtains.
And while everything is coming together in the days before the real opening night, Richardson said that there were some challenges associated with the organized chaos onstage when it sometimes translated in excess to the real rehearsal process. Especially with a tight schedule and limited rehearsal space, the cast and crew had to give a hundred percent and fifty percent in order to make that chaos only theatrical.
“I have to credit this cast; it’s a combined effort that really makes it work,” said Richardson. “I don’t think it would have been possible with any different combination of people.”
“Noises Off” will run on Thursday Nov. 12 at 8 p.m., Friday Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and Saturday Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the Lisner Downstage. Tickets are $5.