Many consider Noises Off to be the funniest play ever written, but in order for the quintessential farce to come to life, a production needs one heck of a set, a two-story revolving one to be precise.
The Kirkwood Theatre Guild (KTG) has had an interest in producing Michael Frayn’s comedy for many years, according to Terry Sibbitts, executive director at KTG.
"The where KTG performs has height limitations, so it always seemed like Noises Off was not really a possibility," Sibbitts said. "Last season, the play reading committee wanted to revisit the idea and our production manager, Frank Lewis, found a wonderful solution."
Lewis found a firm that customizes popular sets to work in different theaters. Donald Larew, an artist with Sceno-Graphics, designed the set for KTG's Noises Off, which opens Friday and kicks off KTG's 81st season.
"There, of course, is extra expense related with such a complex set and play," Sibbitts said. "Not only did we need more lumber and hardware, we needed more rehearsal time. We have received funding from the Missouri Arts Council to help us with the show and the open house."
Tonight, residents have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the complex set during a “behind the scenes” open house from 5-7 p.m., at the , where they will get a backstage tour of the set and meet some of the designers. Refreshments will be served.
"Master Carpenters Gary Sibbitts and Doug Chapis would tell you their biggest challenge is the scope of the set as well as a need to build it with safety and functionality as their primary concerns," Sibbitts said.
But executing executing Noises Off also is a challenge for actors. They rehearse in a studio with no stairs, just tape suggesting the placement of set pieces. The Choreography is incredibly complicated and actors are investing a tremendous amount of time perfecting the moves, according to Sibbitts.
"Director Robert Thibaut has quite a gift for orchestrating comedic timing and puts a lot of energy into nuance and detail," Sibbitts said.
Noises Off is a show within a show. In Act 1, we see the cast of Nothing On at their final dress rehearsal, the set then revolves and in Act 2 we see the action from the same act of Nothing Off but from the backstage perspective. Act 3 is the cast doing their final performance, which is a complete melee.
KTG's production of Noises Off runs from Nov. 4-13. Tickets can be purchased by phone or online.