It’s a play within a play.
“Noises Off,” performed Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s theatre department between the dates of March 20-24, breaks the fourth wall of stage production by allowing the audience a look at what it takes to put a performance together.
Act 1 of “Noises
Off” opens the play with cast members rehearsing a production of “Nothing’s On,” the night before opening.
Within the audience was the director of “Nothing’s On,” Lloyd Dallas (Gage Roberts), yelling out corrections to the actress Dotty Otley (Megan Saenz), playing the housekeeper, Mrs. Clackett.
The owners of the house, Philip and Flavia Brent, played by Fredrick Fellowes (Myles Martinez) and Belinda Blair (Michelle Flores), respectively, are said to be in Spain.
Garry Lujeune (Michael Mendez) plays the house agent, Roger, who takes advantage of the house owners’ absence by inviting over Vicki, played by Brooke Ashton (Amelia Saez).
The attempts of Roger to hide himself and Vicki from the unexpected return of the Brents–even as Mrs. Clackett conceals the location of the Brents from Roger and Vicki and vise-versa–is interrupted by a burglar played by the troublesomely alcoholic Selsdon Mowbray (Professor Emeritus, Dr. Dave Deacon).
“Nothing’s On” is stage managed by Poppy Norton (Alyssa Chavarrilla), and as part of the technical crew and understudy is Timothy Allgood (Orlando Flores).
“Nothing’s On” is a play of flailing and misunderstanding and sardines.
Act 2 of “Noises Off” is set backstage of “Nothing’s On,” where the performers of “Nothing’s On” attempt to manage their interpersonal crises all while putting on a good show and ultimately failing at both. Act 3 sees one of the last performances of “Nothing’s On” where all semblance of sanity and order have dissipated as the play crumbles.
While the actors of “Nothing’s On” had difficulty performing, the actors of “Noises Off” were definitely not as messy. The actors playing the cast displayed devotion to their director and the stage manager’s worry was natural, it was if the audience was eavesdropping on a legitimate rehearsal.
There is little dialogue in Act 2, and the actors of “Noises Off” express their characters’ frustration with one another well that the audience can feel the pressure of the silence.
The play within a play is a unique concept delightfully performed and greatly enjoyable in its comedy. While the third act made it difficult to portray resolution of any of the characters’ personal problems, the characters’ end their performance with the acknowledgement of “doors and sardines.”