Clarence Brown Theatre to Open 2013-14 Season with NOISES OFF, 9/5-22
Lacy lingerie and lots and lots of sardines abound in the Clarence Brown Theatre season opener "Noises Off" playing on the mainstage September 5-22, 2013. The two-time Tony nominated farce written by Michael Frayn looks at the follies of theatre people, whose susceptibility to out-of-control egos, memory loss and passionate affairs turns every performance into quite the adventure. If you enjoy a good laugh, this production is definitely for you. The New York Times critic Frank Rich called it "the funniest play written in my lifetime." Special behind-the-scenes tours will be given following the Sept. 11 and 12 shows. Corporate sponsors for the production are Schaad Companies and Pilot Flying J. The play contains adult language and content and is recommended for mature audiences.
The play-within-a-play follows a group of itinerant actors desperately trying to stage a British sex farce called "Nothing On." In the first act, they struggle to complete a dress rehearsal. In the second, the audience is transported backstage as the set literally revolves and reveals a cast on the verge of disaster as trysts and betrayals send the production into chaos. The final act returns to the company as their final performance, revealing the fallout of backstage catastrophes as the cast struggle on.
The idea for the play came to Frayn after he was inspired by watching a performance of a farce in the wings. According to Frayn, "What I saw backstage was actually funnier than what was onstage." The play was an immediate hit in 1982 and has been wildly popular ever since.
"Michael Frayn is a real man of the theatre. He has such a love of actors and a love for the stage, so the characters in this play are delightful - vain, ego-driven, charming and innocent all at once. At the same time, Frayn also knows farce. He knows the kind of pleasure people derive from split-second timing, from the kind of door slamming farce that occurs in the play and even in the play within the play," said director Greg Leaming. "The play that these actors are rehearsing, "Nothing On," is very, very cheesy, but it's also real silly fun! And farce, is one of the great forms of comedy. It hasn't gone out of style for nearly 3,000 years!"
Greg Leaming is associate artistic director at Asolo Repertory Theatre and curator of Asolo Rep's "Unplugged" new play series. Prior to that, he was the director of Artistic Programming for Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT (1996-2001) and acting artistic director (2001-2002). He also served as artistic director of Portland Stage Company (1992-1996). In 1996-97, he was producing director of Hartford Stage Company and was associate artistic director for the same theatre from 1984 to1992. He also has directed at regional theatres throughout the country.
The cast is comprised of visiting guest professional actors, UT Theatre resident professional actors and faculty and also UT Theatre graduate actors.
Gail Rastorfer (Dotty Otley) is a visiting guest artist from Chicago. In Chicago, she has performed at Drury Lane, Northlight Theatre, The Griffin Theatre, The Chicago Theatre, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and others. Regionally, she has performed at the Indiana Rep, Madison Rep, Cleveland Playhouse, Asolo Repertory Theatre and others. Television work includes "Boss" and a wide range of commercials.
Katie Cunningham (Brooke Ashton) received her bachelor's degree in Theatre from UNC Chapel Hill and her master's degree in Fine Arts from FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. She has performed regionally at Asolo Repertory Theatre, FringeNYC, PlayMakers Rep, Northern Stage, American Place Theatre, and others.