After being postponed for more than three years due to COVID-19, ACT is bringing 'Noises Off' to the stage May 5-13, 2023. For a farce about how things can go awry in theatre, what better example of life imitating art! Written by Michael Frayn, this show presents the madcap misadventures of a touring troupe of actors, their bitingly sarcastic director, and their overworked crew as they attempt to rehearse and perform a flop of a farce entitled 'Nothing On'.
'Noises Off’, by Michael Frayn offers a plethora of challenges to any amateur or professional theatre group. The action is fast paced, the props fly across the stage and the entire set needs to be moved….. twice. The plot tracks a motley group of thespians trying to put on a touring show… in which nothing goes according to plan. Action and intrigue, both on and off stage, play a major role in this farce. So does the slamming of seemingly endless doors in the two-story set – a set that is so central to the story, it might deserve top billing! Nonetheless, ACT (a community theatre) decided they were up for the challenge.
For Keir Malone, director of the upcoming production, a big part of the appeal of ‘Noises Off’ is giving the audience a farcical, exaggerated look behind the curtain – into what is involved in putting on a play. Says Malone, “For every moment you see on stage, there is the story of how the actors got there, and the possibility that it will go wrong. That’s live theatre!” ACT produced this show in 1996- a show that included many well-known actors and production crew members. This time around, the cast includes: Brian Collins, Amanda Rae Donovan, Richard Haines, Colin Hood, Marti Hopson, Mike Mallaley, Noah Nazim, Laura Stapleton, Amy Sobol and Anthony Welsh. (some photos provided by Brian Collins, Landwash Studios)
The group is extremely lucky to have Garnett Gallant joining them for set design and construction. Gallant, with almost 50 years of theatre experience (notably with the Confederation Centre of the Arts), built the intricate set in pieces in 2020. Building has always been a favourite interest, and when ACT (a community theatre) asked for his help in designing and constructing the set for ‘Noises Off’ he was glad to oblige.
The set has to be constructed in many small pieces, one floor at a time, and then pieced together like a puzzle. The first floor was built …. and then deconstructed and put away. Next, the second floor was built. It won’t be until very close to opening night that all the pieces will be assembled in one place, and the finishing touches are complete. Gallant is primarily concerned with safety.
He says it is important for not just the actors, but for the entire team, to feel secure. That the props person can place an object, or the director can ask for certain blocking, and everyone knows that the set will support them safely. The actors will only have a few days on the set to rehearse this farce, which is filled with physical comedy.The ‘community’ of community theatre is a big reason why Garnett Gallant says he is happy to be involved. It is not just the actors, but the entire team of stage managers and production crew that have come together from all over PEI to build this show. As well, ACT is very grateful that ‘Noises off’ will be sponsored by North Rustico Home Hardware. When approached by Gallant, Chris Buote (manager and owner) agreed to support the production with over $1000 worth of materials needed for the complicated set. ACT is also fortunate to have financial support ResourceAbilities, The Construction Association of PEI, Allyson Kane- Century 21 and the Architects Association of PEI. Other sponsors and supporters include HR Atlantic, the Lowther Group, Landwash Studios, Charlottetown Veterinary Clinic, Steph Betts, Lisa Goulden, Samantha Bruce, Gordon Cobb, Carr's Oyster Bar, the Fox and Crow, the UPEI Student Union and a certain dental clinic on Belvedere Avenue.
Also thank you to: Gloria Hastie and the Florence Simmons Performance Hall, all of our set turners and builders and movers and script readers! Brenda Porter, David Gladstone, Greg Stapleton, The Island Jubilee and Serge Bernard for supplying some furniture, Holmes Construction, Richard Haines and Charlottetown Rural, Birchwood School, St. Paul's Anglican Church, the ACT Board, and a certain dental clinic on Belvedere Avenue.
Would you like to be part of the show? ACT has sponsorship opportunities starting at $50! Help us build this marvellous set and support local theatre. We offer packages including complimentary tickets to opening night, advertising in our program, and placement on our website and on social media, as well as mentions before each show. Click here for more information!