ACT doubles the play, doubles the laughter with backstage antics

All College Theatre (ACT) showcased its talent last week in the Don Evans Black Box Theatre, when members performed the classical farce “Noises Off” by Tony Award winner, Michael Frayn.

ACT kept the audience in hysterics on opening night with its rendition of “Noises Off,” a comedy that is, as director Kay Potucek put it, “a play within a play.”

“Noises Off” shows what happens behind the scenes of provincial British theatre as a cast of actors struggle to put on a production called “Nothing On,” during which backstage and onstage drama merge disastrously.

The first act saw the characters rehearsing “Nothing On,” much to the consternation of their director Lloyd Dallas, played by James Introcaso, freshman communications studies major. As the characters rehearsed, the director interjected with corrections, shouts and statements of dismay about their performing abilities.

In the second act, the play was performed, this time for real, but the audience was treated to the drama happening backstage. From love triangles and alcohol to violence and laughter, the actors perfected their way of silently conveying their emotions while trying not to disturb the “play” being performed.

And throughout the entire play, sardines were flung and handles came off doors, as ACT put on their chaotic play within a play.

“The play kept getting funnier and funnier,” Laura Walker, freshman communications studies major, said.

Alumna Nicole Cocuzza felt the same way. “I thought the show was fabulous and it was the funniest show ACT has done,” she said.

ACT members voted to have “Noises Off” be the show they would perform last spring. They began rehearsing at the end of February and met five times a week for three hours a day to put together this classic production.

One of the crowd’s favorites was Selsdon Mowbray, played by Dennis Chin, junior biology major, the old burglar who could not remember his lines and who the cast had to constantly look for and hide liquor from.

Honor Friberg, junior women’s and gender studies major, played Dotty Otley and Mrs. Clackett in the “play within the play,” As Mrs. Clackett, she was the maid in charge of the mansion and the one who endlessly kept misplacing plates of sardines. Senior history major Ryan Zeek transitioned smoothly from being Dotty’s backstage boy toy, Gary Lejeune, to Roger Tramplemain in “Nothing On.”

Claire O’Brien, junior communications studies major, played Poppy Norton-Taylor who worked backstage and was also one of the director’s lovers.

“I thought the show went well, especially the second and third acts,” Melissa Silver, senior communications studies major, said. Silver kept the audience laughing with her role as Brooke Ashton and Vicki in “Nothing On.”

Jonathon Bulava, senior computer science major, played Tim Allgood, the backstage helper who just tries to do good for the entire cast. Ben Daniels, sophomore physics major, and Alyssa Phillips, freshman history major, played the likeable Frederick Fellowes and Belinda Blair in “Noises Off,” respectively, and the Brents in “Nothing On.”

Director Kay Potucek jokingly said, “There were only two things that were not supposed to happen in the play but I am really happy with the performance.”

It turned out to be a great opening night for ACT and their production of “Noises Off” and the laughter continued through the performances every night for the rest of the week.

“We could not have asked for a better opening night,” Phillips said. “The audience was great and it was great punctuation on all our hard work.”