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Friday, April 12, 2019

Schoolhouse Arts Center kicks off 30th season with hilarious farce

By Elizabeth Richards

Schoolhouse Arts Center opened the first show of its 30th season last weekend with an uproarious rendition of “Noises Off!”, a farcical look at the world of theatre. I had the pleasure of attending the dress rehearsal, which unfolded far more smoothly than the dress rehearsal portrayed on stage.

If you’ve ever participated in a theater production, you’re sure to appreciate the familiar (but greatly
exaggerated) glitches that arise. And if you haven’t, your perception of live theater may be forever changed once you’ve seen this show.

The audience received a glimpse of how each character would evolve from the moment each made their initial appearance on stage. The talented cast built upon these initial impressions throughout the show, creating characters that worked in perfect sync with one another. Through facial expressions, body movements, and flawless timing of remarks and gestures, the distinct personality of each character emerged. By the end of the show I felt as though I knew each character personally and could anticipate what might come next, though there were plenty of twists throughout.

http://mulberryfarmsmaine.com/The first act details the final dress rehearsal of a touring show about to open. Although it soon becomes clear that things aren’t running quite the way they should, there’s a hopeful air that it will all come together in the end. But by the end of the act, with personal lives revealed bit by bit and a love triangle emerging, it’s clear that the run may not be so smooth after all.

The second act, set a month later, gives a backstage glimpse of how poorly things have gone. It was this act that highlighted just how talented this group of actors (the Schoolhouse cast, not the fictional cast) is. The pace is quick and frenzied, but the show moved smoothly along, with so many side stories overlapping all at once that it was difficult to keep track of all the action.  Everywhere I looked there was a hilarious moment unfolding; I hate to think of how many I missed.

In the third act, back on the set of the fictitious show two months later, it’s clear that the entire production has devolved into total chaos. And yet, the (fictional) cast embraces the idea that “the show must go on,” moving through every missed entrance, unexpected arrival, and set failure as though nothing unusual has happened at all.

The physical comedy alone makes this show worth seeing. Comedic timing was right on, and there was often no way to determine if what had just happened was part of the script, or an actual glitch in the rehearsal. Everything worked so well that it simply didn’t matter.

https://www-hannaford.aholdusa.com/content.jsp?pageName=Careers&leftNavArea=CorporateLeftNavAs impressive as the acting and flow of the show was, the set showcased the backstage talent at Schoolhouse Arts Center.  Two stories high, with detachable stairs and ladders, the entire thing had to rotate between each act. The show has two 15-minute intermissions to accommodate this rotation. I recommend staying in your seat for one of them, just to see the feat accomplished.  It’s a real life look behind the scenes that added another level of interest to the production.

“Noises Off!” is a production that shouldn’t be missed. In fact, with all the action happening simultaneously, you might want to see it more than once to catch anything you may miss. There are four shows remaining in the run, on Friday, April 12th at 7 pm; Saturday April 13th at 2 pm and 7 pm; and Sunday, April 14th at 2 pm. The show is rated PG-13 for language and innuendo.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.schoolhousearts.org.

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