- By gentleguide
- On Sat 06 Oct 2018
One of my favorite comedic shows is the “play within a play” Noises Off! Newton Community Theatre is presenting their version of this wonderful romp for two weekends beginning October 12. A classic farce about putting on a show called Nothing On, there are mistaken identities, prop problems, and a set that is almost the star of the show itself.
For Newton Community Theatre, this show is really an evolution from last year’s production of Noises Off! by the Union Street Players (USP) in Pella. Newton co-directors Rachel and Terry Faidley had worked previously with the Pella group, and both were involved with the USP production (Rachel as Assistant to the Director, and Terry onstage as the character Selsdon). The idea of directing the show someday had already been bubbling in their heads, and their experiences in Pella made them move forward on the idea of bringing it to Newton.
“We’ve talked about directing together for several years,” says Terry, “and Noises Off! has always represented the type of challenge we were looking for. We have seen the show several times. We hope that our audiences at Newton Community Theatre will enjoy our vision of the show as much as we have enjoyed viewing each other’s productions and working with USP.”
Rachel loved the idea just as much. “One of our daughters suggested we check out Noises Off! We got ahold of a copy of the movie version with Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, and John Ritter, and loved it!”
“We brought it up to our theatre board,” she continues. “Several board members were skeptical that we had the capability technically to build such a complicated set. [The set has numerous doors, a second story, and has to rotate to be seen as both “front” and “backstage”.] We persisted, and after problem solving with several key people at Newton Community Theatre we decided it was possible, and our theatre administrator was able to get the rights. While the whole concept of producing this show was daunting, it represented a challenge that was very appealing.”
Rachel and Terry Faidley are not the only advantages the Newton production has as an outgrowth of the Pella version. Set pieces from the Pella production were stored by Newton’s team, and have been available almost from the beginning of rehearsal. And when you’re dealing with a farce with extreme physical comedy and multiple entrances and exits, having those already built is a tremendous advantage for the cast.
Rachel goes on. “While the Union Street Players production was excellent, we have had no intention of producing a carbon copy. Theatre is fluid, never stagnant. A show, actors, and directors need to have room to grow and make it their own.”
So, even if you have some building blocks, putting together a show is still a painstaking process, much like building a house and making it a home. Terry and Rachel have some experience with that....
“A few years ago, we worked with a general contractor to build our log home and stayed married,” notes Terry. “Thus, we are confident enough in our relationship (or maybe just egotistical enough) to believe in our ability to work together to direct Noises Off! We’ve talked about directing together for several years, and Noises Off! has always represented the type of challenge we were looking for.”
He continues. “We constantly communicate our ideas and vision to each other. We do what we can to recognize and appreciate each other’s strengths. Each step of putting on the production is considered and divided between us as time, desire, and skill sets dictate. One of the most challenging is that all our actors have busy lives outside the theatre, and I have had to fill in on stage several times. We are, however, very confident in our ability to stay married throughout and beyond Noises Off!”
Rachel agrees completely. “We sort of fall into our areas of strength. We’ve seen the show many times and so have been able to tweak the set in ways that suited our vision and stage. Terry has the building skills to work with our set designer and building team. I took over the finishing aspect. So much of how things have fallen into place have had to do with networking and pooling the resources of those involved in our theatre in many different capacities.”
After all that, it’s just a case of trying to gather all the necessary elements and making the show run as well as possible. “Each cast and director combination bring out their own interpretations,” says Terry. “The current Newton cast has had excellent prior on-stage experience, and combining their talents and ideas with ours will (we hope) bring a fresh look and energy to Noises Off!”
“I honestly believe,” adds Rachel, “that everyone who has worked on any production, from directing, stage crew, make-up, publicity, lighting and sound, set building, props, or those in the orchestra want only to bring their best to the task. ‘It takes a village’ quite aptly describes our approach to this production. They are extremely dedicated to bring the finest production possible to the stage, and are very supportive of each other. We have a truly dedicated group of people who love the stage and all that goes into a production.”
“If you haven’t come to check out a show, please make this the first one of many. And if you’ve ever had the glimmer of an interest in working in any aspect of community theatre, Newton Community Theatre is always ready to welcome you!”
Noises Off! will be presented starting October 12 at the home of Newton Community Theatre, the YMCA building at 1701 S. 8th Ave. E. in Newton. There will be six performances, running through October 20, with a Sunday matinee on October 14. Tickets are available through their Box Office at 641-792-1230 or at the door.