SEBRING — English playwright Michael Frayn conceived the idea for “Noises Off” in 1970 while watching a performance of a farce that he had written from the wings. He said, “It was funnier from behind than in front, and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind.”
Each of the three acts of “Noises Off” contains a performance of the first act of a play within a play called “Nothing On.” Act One is set at the technical rehearsal where the cast is hopelessly unprepared. Troublesome props, especially sardines, are misplaced and mishandled. Act Two is a Wednesday matinee a month later and provides a view of the mishaps taking place backstage. Act Three is several weeks later; relationships between the cast have deteriorated and the sardines have taken on a role of their own. Much of the comedy emerges from the subtle variations in each version as character flaws play off each other off-stage to undermine on-stage performance, with a great deal of slapstick. The contradiction between players’ on-stage and off-stage personalities provides further comedic opportunities.
The cast includes Andrew Macbeth (Lloyd Dallas), Mariah Alvarez (Dotty Otley), Marcus Conerly (Garry Lejeune), Margaret Macbeth (Belinda Blair), Aslan Smith (Frederick Fellowes), Alysia Anders (Brooke Ashton), Shanika Jean Jacques (Poppy Norton), Anthony Toler (Selsdon Mowbray) and Ashur Ferrao (Tim Allgood). Directed by Tom Staik.
To kick off the fun, there will be a Sardine Eating Contest January 8, 5:30 p.m.. to see who can eat 4 cans of sardines in the fastest time. Sardine Wrangler Dotty Otley will be in attendance. Spectators welcome. To sign up for a chance to eat and win $100 visit https://bit.ly/EatSardines. Registration closes January 7. After the contest, smash a pie in the face of HLT president Kevin Hacker for $5. The event will be held on the deck. Anthony’s Lounge will be open 5 – 7:30 p.m.
Take a look behind the scenes at the follies of theatre folk, whose susceptibility to out-of-control egos, memory loss, and passionate affairs turn every performance into a high-risk adventure. “Noises Off” opens at Highlands Lakeside Theatre January 14 and runs eleven performances through January 30. Tickets start at $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m., Sunday showings are at 2:30 p.m. The doors open an hour before show time. Arrive early and enjoy a special beverage or snack in Anthony’s Lounge or the deck outside. Tickets may be purchased at HighlandsLakesideTheatre.org, 863-382-2525 or at the Box Office Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Highlands Lakeside Theatre is located at 356 West Center Avenue in Sebring.
Brimming with slapstick comedy, “Noises Off” is a delightful backstage farce, complete with slamming doors, falling trousers, and flying sardines. Written by Michael Frayn. Produced by special arrangement with Concord Theatricals. Blackman Stage 2021-2022 Series sponsored by Dental Care of Mid Florida, McPhail’s Auto Sales, and the Law Office of Michael Keiber.