- by Michael Frayn
- directed by Linda Duarte
Called the funniest farce ever written, Noises Off presents a manic menagerie as a cast of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called Nothing’s On. Doors slamming, on and offstage intrigue, and an errant herring all figure in the plot of this hilarious and classically comic play.
The New York Times called Noises Off “…the most dexterously realized comedy ever about putting on a comedy. A spectacularly funny, peerless backstage farce. … a festival of delirium.”
Each of the three acts of Noises Off contains a performance of the first act of a play within a play, a poor farce called Nothing On — the type of play in which young girls run about in their underwear, old men drop their trousers, and many doors continually bang open and shut. Preparing for the opening performance, the cast are hopelessly unready, and baffled by entrances and exits, missed cues, missed lines, and bothersome props, including several plates of sardines.
In Act Two, the play is seen from backstage, providing a view that emphasises the deteriorating relationships between the cast that lead to offstage shenanigans and onstage bedlam. The play falls into disorder before the curtain falls.
By Act Three, though the actors remain determined at all costs to cover up the mounting series of mishaps, it is not long before the plot has to be abandoned entirely and the more coherent characters are obliged to take a lead in ad-libbing somehow towards some sort of end.
- Friday and Saturday, June 16th and 17th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday June 18th, 2:00 pm matinee
- Friday and Saturday, June 23rd and 24th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday. June 25th, 2:00 pm matinee
The Chalk Garden
- by Enid Bagnold
- Directed by Laura Graham
Family drama and wit meet in this exploration of the secret world of childhood through the prism of a dyed-in-the-wool dowager, her precocious and equally eccentric granddaughter, and the enigmatic new governess.
Mrs. St. Maugham lives in her country house in a village in Sussex, where the garden is composed of lime and chalk. She is taking care of her teenage grandchild, Laurel, who has been setting fires. Miss Madrigal, an expert gardener, is hired as a governess, despite her lack of references. Also in the household is a valet, Maitland, who has just been released from a five-year sentence in prison. Olivia, Laurel’s mother, who has remarried, arrives for a visit. When the Judge comes to the house for lunch, he reveals that he had sentenced Miss Madrigal to jail for murder.
When The Chalk Garden was revived in London in 2008, critics called it a “neglected stage masterpiece” and praised Bagnold’s writing as “extravagantly eloquent”, “irresistibly vivid” and “hauntingly beautiful”. Bagnold is also the author of the much-loved novel National Velvet.
- Friday and Saturday, March 3rd and 4th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday March 5th, 2:00 pm matinee
- Friday and Saturday,March 10th and 11th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday. March 12th, 2:00 pm matinee
In 2017 … Governesses, Gumshoes, Shakespeare, Sherlock and Sardines
The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold. When dowager Mrs. St. Maugham and her precocious granddaughter Laurel meet the enigmatic Miss Madrigal, the new governess, will the garden bloom or burn? March 3rd through 12th.
Noises Off by Michael Frayn. Have you ever wondered what goes on backstage in a door-slamming, sardine-juggling, wardrobe-malfunctioning British farce? You’ll find out. June 16th through 25th.
Baskerville by Ken Ludwig. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must crack the mystery of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” before a family curse dooms its newest heir. But not before the audience dissolves in laughter from this murderously funny treatment of Conan Doyle’s masterpiece. August 18th through 27th.
Forsooth, My Lovely by David Belke. Haven’t you always wanted to mash up the film noir world of Raymond Chandler with Shakespeare’s most memorable characters? There, you see? Mr. Belke has done it for you. October 27th through November 5th.
All evening performances at 7:30 p.m, matinees at 2:00 p.m.
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By John Van Druten
THE STORY: Gillian Holroyd is one of the few modern people who can actually cast spells and perform feats of supernaturalism. She casts a spell over an unattached publisher, Shepherd Henderson, partly to keep him away from a rival and partly because she is attracted to him. He falls head over heels in love with her at once and wants to marry her. But witches, unfortunately, cannot fall in love, and this minute imperfection leads into a number of difficulties. Ultimately, the lady breaks off with her companions in witchery, preferring the normal and human love offered her by the attractive publisher. But before the happy conclusion of the romance, Gillian comes very near to losing him—but doesn’t.
John Van Druten