Noises Off

Noise
s Off

By Michael Frayn / Translated from English by Ursula Lyn

Do you love going to the theatre? Then whisper it: when everything that could go wrong in front of you does go wrong – you hear the prompters and the revolving stage squeaks – then you feel particularly good in your comfortable theatre seat. It’s just like in real life: it would be interesting if the couple next door started yelling by an open window and you’d be noticeably relieved: behind their perfect facade, the neighbours are also facing chaos, the abyss, catastrophe. Of course the whole thing is only funny when it happens to other people. English author Michael Frayn gleefully exploits this effect in his hit comedy, ‘Noises Off’ and uses theatre to put life on stage. And so a handful of gifted actors heroically torture themselves in front of our eyes in a hugely silly farce in which, among others, an estate agent, a tax investigator and an Arab Sheikh play important but obscure roles.

In the final dress run, the company bravely soldiers on with the perils of the typical rehearsal (actors looking for their scripts, or rather the plot of the piece, props in the wrong place, sticking doors etc). But for the second act the stage revolves by 180 degrees and the audience sees what’s going on backstage and what otherwise would have remained carefully hidden at the theatre (as in life...): deceitful affairs, petty schemes and substantial attacks. With heaps of improvisation, imagination and sheer endurance, the unfortunate actors try to preserve the appearance of normality for their audience till the last – staying true to their irrevocable motto: the curtain must go up, or: The show must go on.  But as you might expect, much to our delight, the unbridled madness quickly takes over the production…

Premiere 5th October 2013, Thalia Theater

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