The Dauphin players opened Noises Off last night to a packed house of guests, exposing theatergoers to an epic work of planned chaos and challenging character dynamics.
Both director Kathryn Whitaker and assistant director Kevin McKernan saw the play at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis a few years ago and hold the work in high esteem.
“This is a play that has always been on my bucket list of shows to do,” said Whitaker. “It’s one of the funniest pieces of theater and one of the most well-crafted pieces of farce that I have ever read.”
The play is a farce, which is a style that uses highly exaggerated and improbable scenarios. The humor of Noises Off is derived from its chaos, which snowballs throughout the show. The play is set in three acts, and within each act the actors are attempting to put on a play called Nothing On. Noises Off is a work of metafiction, in which the work ironically refers back to itself, in this case parodying theater production through a plot line based around the production of theater.
“Within the play, they’re playing the actor who’s playing the character in the play that’s in the play,” said Whitaker.
The first act takes the audience into the soon-to-debut show’s final rehearsal, the second to a run watched from an anarchic backstage, and the third brings the audience full circle to the front for a far from perfect run of the show. The actors’ botched rehearsal and the flurry of discord backstage materialize in a perfect storm that is entertaining on a level beyond meticulously executed professional theater. In other words, Nothing On is so bad that Noises Off is good.
“I personally love the third act of the show,” said senior Andrew Normington. “The melting chaos of the production comes full circle and it is just so much fun to stare into the audience with pure fear.”
The Dauphin Players act as both their character and their character’s character, switching back and forth between the realms of reality and fantasy.
“You see different pieces of the characters—you see what they’re like when they’re trying to rehearse, you see what they’re like when they’re backstage, and then you see what they’re like when they’re trying to perform it,” said McKernan. “It’s as silly as farce can be, and it has a lot of character nuance to it because you’re seeing (the characters) in different modes.”
The players’ duality is complemented by the two-sided set, which sits on a rotating turntable. On one side is the Nothing On set, the interior of a two story, 16th century, 80s-renovated British home with a lot of doors. The other side is the mock backstage set from which the chaos is birthed.
The set features catwalks on both sides, two sets of stairs, and comes within a foot of the Schulte Theater’s stage frame. The crew wears their usual black outfits with an extra “Nothing On” plastered across the back, inserting them in the production as apparent mirrors of Tim Allgood, the crew member in show played by senior Daniel Gatewood.
Last night’s opening is followed by a morning performance today for some Fine Arts students, including Whitaker’s and McKernan’s classes. Performances are at 7:30 on Saturday, and the show closes with a 2:00 p.m. matinee Sunday.
You just finished the last chunk of bone-dry crust on pizza Thursday. You make one final fantasy football comment, then leave the table. It’s now time to throw away your trash, but you don’t merely throw it all away. You open that deep, rubber duck-colored can and compost your paper plate and left over fries. And you can do this because of the initiatives of St. Louis U. High’s Energy Team and social studies teacher Anne Marie Lodholz.
Director of the Learning Center and English teacher Tim Curdt was recently nominated by the administration for the Emerson Excellence in Teaching award and was one of roughly 100 teachers selected to receive the award.
Members of St. Louis U. High’s Association for Cultural Enrichment at SLUH (ACES) attended the National Youth Summit on Education, Justice, and Leadership last weekend in Jackson, Miss. in an effort to learn about methods of education and social issues.
The stage was set, the musicians were in their chairs ready to play, but there was one significant difference. Instead of band director Jeff Pottinger standing up front conducting the Chamber Orchestra, it was someone else—junior Alexander Unseth.
With the teachers in department meetings on Wednesday morning, St. Louis U. High students had a late start. However, some students arrived at 8:00 a.m. for a presentation about the immigration process.