BWW Interviews: Sam Ray and Sean Murphy of Otterbein's BOEING, BOEING
By PAUL BATTERSON
If Sean Murphy comes off the stage after his performance in the Otterbein University production of the comedy BOEING, BOEING and doesn't need a shower, then the senior didn't do his job.
"It's not a good show unless you are sweating bullets by the end of it," says Murphy, who plays Robert In the farce comedy. "It's a physical type of comedy. You're trying to maintain a calm, cool atmosphere when everything goes to hell."
The facade of remaining calm when everything is collapsing is one of the premises of BOEING, BOEING. Bernard, a playboy architect living in Paris during the swinging 1960s, decides it's time to settle down. So he proposes to his girlfriend Gloria (Emily Vanni) ... and Gabriella (Marina Pires) ... and then to Gretchen (Mason Smajstrla). The three stewardesses, who are unaware of Bernard's relationship with the other two, all accept.
Everything goes like clockwork until Boeing changes its flight schedule. Now, it is up to Bernard, Robert and Bernard's housekeeper Bertha (Haley Jones) to keep the three fiancées away from each other.
"Bernard is a pretty suave guy," Ray says. "He constantly has clocks ticking in his head that are telling him what time he needs to get this girl out and pick up the next one at the airport.
"When Boeing changes its flight schedule, he has to make things up as he goes along and he discovers he's not particularly good at that."
In show like BOEING, BOEING, timing is everything. Murphy says actors are often jumping over couches and diving behind doors as things in Bernard's life unravel.
"Everything is so choreographed. It's kind of like doing a play and a dance," says Murphy, who hails from Dallas. "It's interesting because you have to vary it so much with the physicality of it. You not only have to memorize your lines but you have to say your line then move your head to the left."
"Sometimes (when you do a play enough), a show can become predictable," Ray adds. "I don't think that will be possible with this one because of the way the timing has to be. If one of the girls comes on to stage too early, then the whole show is lost. You'd have to improvise the rest of the show. We're going to try to avoid that as much as we can."
Murphy says this cast has a distinct of being very familiar with each other. Half of the cast (Ray, Murphy, Pires, and Vanni) worked together on AFTER THE FALL in March.
"Luckily a lot of us have worked together on AFTER THE FALL and a couple other projects here and there," Murphy says. "It makes the rehearsal process shorter because we have shorthand on how each other operate. We don't have to build chemistry. We already have it."
Outside of the physicality of the show, Ray says BOEING, BOEING presents a different set of challenges than preparing for a drama.
"A drama takes a lot of you psychologically. There were times in AFTER THE FALL when I would have revelations (about his character) at 1 a.m.. or 2 a.m.. I'd wake up and write them down because I didn't't want to lose them," Ray says. "Since this is such a physical comedy, you're physically worn out by the end of the day. It's like a big physical workout.
"BOEING, BOEING has been really a lot of fun. I've been doing a lot of dramas recently, so it's nice to be laughing (at the end of the show) for a change."
The premiere of BOEING, BOEING will be 7:30 p.m... June 13. at the in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St. in Westerville. The play will have 8 p.m.. shows on June 14-15, 20-22 and 27-29 and 2 p.m... matinees on June 16 and June 21. Tickets are $22 each. Student Rush discounts are available one hour prior to curtain, pending ticket availability. Call (614) 823-1109 or visit the Art Scene page at www.otterbein.edu/drama for more information about the 2013 Otterbein Summer Theatre season.