A play within a play is presented on campus
By: Missy Arneson
The Saint Louis Community College-Meramec Theatre Department performed “Noises Off”, a farcical comedy by Michael Frayn on Wednesday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 9. The show was directed by Theatre Professor Keith Oliver, and the set was designed by Theatre Manager Rick Willmore.
The play opens with an older woman, Mrs. Clackett, talking on the phone with a friend. The play seems normal as she talks about a royal proceeding and sardines until the director cuts her off, issuing a stage direction.
The play is quickly shown to not be a normal play, but rather a play within a play. Mrs. Clackett is actually an actress named Dotty (Mary Robert) who is rehearsing for a performance of “Nothing On” with her fellow actors and actresses, and the director, LLoyd (Kurt Knoedelseder), is trying to have the play ready to be performed the next day.
More characters make entrances as the first act continues, each failing to follow the script. The entire cast is introduced rapidly: Garry plays Roger (student Chaz Fox), Brooke plays Vicki (student Hannah Mihulka), Frederick plays Phillip, and later a Sheik (STLCC Alumni Evan Fornachon), Belinda plays Flavia (student Madeline Finn), and Selsdon plays the Burglar (David Hawley).
There are several characters who don’t have acting roles within the play: Lloyd, the director; Poppy, the Assistant Stage Manager (student Lily Newsham); and Tim, the Stage Manager (Brian Finn). Despite not having roles in “Nothing On”, they are almost constantly present throughout all three acts.
As the play continues into the second act, the set turns around to reveal the dysfunction behind the scenes: Lloyd tells Tim to run out and purchase flowers and alcohol so the director can convince Brooke to stay, much jealousy occurs between characters, and the cast struggles to perform the play.
The third act has as many misadventures, so much so that Dotty stops playing Mrs. Clackett and simply provides her own commentary on the events.
The audience laughed through most of the show. The laughter grew louder during the second and third acts, when the show “Nothing On” falls to pieces, finally ending with Flavia calling for the last line. There is one final mishap: Selsdon can’t remember his final line, so everyone calls it together.