NOISES OFF to Open 2/1 at Rubicon Theatre

NOISES OFF to Open 2/1 at Rubicon Theatre

Rubicon Theatre continues the company's 16th Not Your Typical Season with sardines and lingerie in NOISES OFF, a comic romp by Michael Frayn about the outrageous exploits of a company of actors which opens Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura's Downtown Cultural District. The production continues Wednesdays through Sundays through February 23, with low-priced previews on Wednesday, January 29 at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 30 at 8 p.m. and Friday, January 31 at 8 p.m.

NOISES OFF features a cast of nine talented professionals under the direction of theatre veteran KENNETH ALBERS, who makes his Rubicon debut with this production. Albers' extensive credits include The Abbey Theatre in Ireland, eight seasons as a resident director and actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Rep, and numerous others.

NOISES OFF is an ingenious play-within-a-play which follows a touring company as they rehearse and present a bedroom farce called Nothing On, filled with slamming doors, mistaken identities, infidelities and scantily clad women. As the characters make their exits from Nothing On, they find themselves in hilarious situations where anything that can go awry, does. In the end, the onstage and offstage worlds collide, creating a scandalously silly and fabulously funny nervous breakdown.

"Winner of both the Olivier Award and the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy, NOISES OFF is side-splittingly funny," says Rubicon Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns. "It is the kind of show that has audiences roaring with laughter," she continues. "However, it requires extraordinary comic timing and incredible precision. Having long admired the work of Ken Albers, we knew he was the perfect person for the job and we're thrilled when he said 'yes'. We look forward to sharing Ken's artistry and this production with Rubicon audiences."

The cast of NOISES OFF includes four artists from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) who have previously worked with Albers. Andrew Borba, who assays the role of over-sensitive Freddie who gets nosebleeds when stressed, appeared in Albers' first production at OSF - Two Gentlemen of Verona. Borba's other credits include South Coast Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, The Globe, Laguna Playhouse and Berkeley Rep. Television and film credits include recurring roles on "Modern Family," "The Shield," "Jericho," and "Charlie Wilson's War." CATHERINE LYNN DAVIS, who plays the role of leading lady BeLinda Blair in NOISES OFF, has been a leading lady on the stages of OSF, Milwaukee Rep, Yale Rep, Cleveland Play House and American Players Theatre. William Langan, another OSF veteran, worked with Albers on A Midsummer Night's Dream and Troilus and Cressida during his six years with the company. He appeared in Rubicon's production of The Tempest, and has worked on the stages of Studio Arena, The Guthrie Theatre and the McCarter Theatre. A recent transplant to Los Angeles, Langan's TV credits include "NCIS, "NUMB3rs," and "Law and Order." LANGAN plays the character of Lloyd Dallas, the director who tries in vain to keep his crazy cast under control. Actress ROBYNN RODRIGUEZ, a member of the OSF company for over 20 years, plays the role of ditzy Dotty Otley in NOISES OFF, an actress who merrily muddles her lines and finds dealing with props a great mystery (especially plates of sardines). RODRIGUEZ has appeared on the stages of the Barbican in London, Birmingham Rep (also in the UK), the Kennedy Center, Intiman Theatre, La Jolla and PCPA Theaterfest.

ERIC CURTIS JOHNSON and Joanna Strapp make their Rubicon debuts as gaffer Gary, who tries to express himself well but can't quite finish a sentence; and the put-upon assistant stage manager Poppy. JOHNSON's credits include work at Steppenwolf and other Chicago theatres (Joseph Jefferson Award), Williamstown Theatre Festival; and numerous shows at L.A. area theatres including Open Fist and SacRed Fools. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, STRAPP has appeared with Antaeus, The Colony Theatre and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Three local residents round out the NOISES OFF cast: Rudolph Willrich as the semi-inebriated Selsdon, ALYSON LINDSAY as ingénue Brooke, and TOBY TROPPER as the overworked stage manager Tim WILLRICH, a Santa Barbara based actor, appeared in the Broadway production of NOISES OFF. Other Broadway credits include Pirandello's Emperor Henry IV, and Tom Stoppard's Dirty Linen and Newfoundland. WILLRICH has appeared in eight previous Rubicon productions and in numerous productions with Ensemble Theatre in Santa Barbara. TV and film credits include "The Practice," multiple incarnations of "Star Trek," "What's Love Got to Do With It?" and "Steal Big, Steal Little."

LINDSAY, a Ventura native and Buena graduate who completed her training at UCLA and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, returns to the Rubicon stage having played Sybil in Private Lives last season. Other recent credits include Steel Magnolias at Laguna Playhouse and The Gun Show for Skylight Theatre.

TROPPER, another Ventura native, makes his Rubicon mainstage debut with NOISES OFF, although he has appeared at Rubicon in many youth productions (starting at age 9). TROPPER attended Ventura College and California Summer School of the Arts (where he was awarded with the Herb Alpert Scholarship) and recently graduated from PCPA Theaterfest's conservatory program, where he appeared in productions such as Clybourne Park and Cyrano de Bergerac. Tropper also appeared in Out of the Box Theatre's recent Southern California premiere of Carrie: The Musical.

The set for NOISES OFF has been designed by THOMAS S. GIAMARIO of GIATHEATRIX, who has designed more than forty sets at Rubicon. According to Giamario, this particular set has more lumber and more carpentry than any other set in Rubicon's history and is built to withstand the more than 290 door-slams that take place in the farce. The set is two stories and has 11 doors with two additional entryways. GIAMARIO also serves as Lighting Designer for the production. Costumes are designed by Marcy Froehlich and sound is designed by KENNETH HOBBS. William Keeler is Dramaturg and JESSIE VACCHIANO is Production Stage Manager.

Playwright Michael Frayn worked as a reporter and columnist for The Guardian and The Observer in London after graduating from Cambridge. Frayn's novels include "The Tin Men" (Somerset Maugham Award), "The Russian Interpreter" (Hawthornden Prize), "Towards the End of the Morning, "A Landing on the Sun" (Sunday Express Book of the Year and Headlong), "Spies" (Whitbread Novel Award) and "Skios" (2012). Non-fiction works include "Stage Directions: Writing on Theatre 1970-2008" and "Travels with a Typewriter." Frayn's memoirs, "My Father's Fortune: A Life" was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Biography Award. He has also translated a number of works from Russian, including plays by Chekhov and Tolstoy. Films for television include "First and Last" (Emmy Award) and an adaptation "A Landing on the Sun." He also wrote the screenplay for the film "Clockwise" starring John Cleese.

In addition to NOISES OFF, Frayn's plays include Alphabetical Order, Clouds, Donkeys' Years, Make or Break and Benefactors, Democracy, Afterlife, and Copenhagen which won the 1998 Evening Standard Award for "Best Play of the Year" and the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play.

More about the Play: Frayn said that the idea for NOISES OFF came to him after he watched a farce he had written for Lynn Redgrave from the wings of the theatre. He realized that, "it was much funnier from the back than the front, and I resolved one day to write a play seen from behind."

He then created a one-act play called Exits in 1977, which became the prototype for NOISES OFF (a theatrical stage term indicating sounds coming from offstage). The play premiered in London in 1982, and made its Broadway bow at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1983. It has been revived numerous times on Broadway and in the West End, and is one of the most popular comedies of all time.

The piece begins with the characters in the play hopelessly unready for dress rehearsal of a ridiculous farce entitled Nothing On. Baffled by entrances and exits, they miss cues, miss lines, and misplace their props. The second act provides a perspective on the backstage mayhem that happens at a matinee performance a month later, as the relationships between the actors have begun to disintegrate, leading to offstage high jinks. For the final act, time passes and the friction between the actors performing in Nothing On reaches a boiling point. The actors remain determined to continue the show during an ever-mounting series of mishaps, but it is not long before the plot is abandoned entirely and bedlam ensues.

More about the Director: KENNETH ALBERS has worked for nearly five decades as an actor and director in more than 300 productions throughout the country in theatres such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Portland Center Stage, American Players Theatre, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Missouri Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Two River Theater Company, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. In 1987, Ken staged the world premiere of Donald Freed's The Last Hero for the Abbey Theater in Dublin, Ireland. His production of An Italian Straw Hat for the National Theater of the Deaf, which he adapted and directed, toured the United States for two years, and his production of Medea for Deaf West in Los Angeles, which he also adapted and directed, won an Ovation Award and a Drama-Logue Award for Direction. Ken created adaptations of Durrenmaat's The Visit, which was produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Franz Kafka's The Trial, which was produced by the New Century Theatre Company in Seattle.

Low-priced previews of NOISES OFF begin on Wednesday, January 29 at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 30 at 8 p.m. and Friday, January 31 at 8 p.m. The production opens Saturday, February 1 at 7 p.m. and runs through Sunday, February 23. Regular performances are Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Talkbacks are scheduled after Wednesday 7 p.m. performances with the actors and special guests on February 5, 12 and 19.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $49. Tickets for students are $25. The Opening Night premiere on February 1 is $150 per person and includes pre-show champagne and truffles, tickets, admission to the private post-show party generously hosted by The Watermark and owners Kathy and Mark Hartley with the cast and local VIPs, as well as a tax-deductible donation to Rubicon.

Groups of 12 or more (formal or informal - neighborhood groups, office parties, reunions, book clubs, social and civic organizations, etc.) save 20% to 40% on tickets, depending on the size of the group. For group tickets and information, call the Box Office at (805) 667-2900.

Tickets for NOISES OFF may be purchased in person through Rubicon Theatre Company's BOX OFFICE at the corner of Main and Laurel in Ventura (Laurel entrance and downstairs). To charge by phone, call (805) 667-2900 or go to www.rubicontheatre.org. Twenty-four-hour-a-day ticketing is available online thanks to a generous grant from the IRVINE FOUNDATION's Arts Regional Initiative.

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