Noises Off

Feb. 19-22 & 26-March 1, 2009
Directed by Heather E. Hamilton

Scenic Design by Allen Wright Shannon
Costume Design by Nicole Pullaro
Lighting Design by Steven Smith
Sound Design by Ben Inniger

Selsdon (Christopher McCarthy, far right) points to his bottled confidence source.
The rest of the cast and crew of Nothing On look on. They are (left to right): Belinda
Liz Dowd), Garry (Cody Gerrells), Tim (Joel Partyka), Brooke (JoNae Villeneuve),
Lloyd (Mathias Becker), Poppy (Tierney Bagan), Freddy (Jeff E. Smith)
and Dotty (Deanne McDonald).

Left: Dotty is shocked by the lack of clothing worn by Brooke. Right: Lloyd
wonders what he has gotten himself into directing this group.

Freddy is caught below holding a plate of sardines while
Garry, above, is too.

Behind the scenes, Garry treats Lloyd to a cactus surprise.

In a change of pace, Poppy is suddenly the center of attention.

All photos by Mike Lagerquist


Tell us a little about the play itself. Listen

What is the story about, in its simplest terms? Listen

It has an unusual structure. Listen

Tell us about some of the characters. Listen

What should the audience be prepared to witness? Listen



In theatrical stage directions, the term "noises off" specifies sounds that are meant to originate offstage. The play premiered at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London, in 1982, directed by Michael Blakemore and starring Patricia Routledge, Paul Eddington, and Nicky Henson. (Cleverly included within the show's program was a facsimile of a program for a play called Nothing On, complete with biographical notes for the fictitious cast.) It opened to universally ecstatic reviews and shortly after transferred to the West End's Savoy Theatre in The Strand, where it ran until 1987 with five successive casts. It won the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy.

On December 11, 1983, a production directed again by Blakemore and starring Dorothy Loudon, Victor Garber, Brian Murray, Deborah Rush, Douglas Seale and Amy Wright opened in New York City at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it ran for 553 performances. It earned Tony Award nominations for Best Play and for Blakemore, Rush, and Seale, and won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

Noises Off has become a staple of both professional theatre companies and community theaters on both sides of the Atlantic. On October 5, 2000, the National Theatre in London mounted a revival, directed by Jeremy Sams and starring Patricia Hodge, Peter Egan and Aden Gillett, that ran for two years, transferring to the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End on May 14, 2001, with Lynn Redgrave and Stephen Mangan replacing Hodge and Egan, respectively. Sams' production transferred to Broadway, again at the Brooks Atkinson, on November 1, 2001, with Patti LuPone, Peter Gallagher, Faith Prince, T.R. Knight and Katie Finneran. The production was nominated for a Tony and Drama Desk Award as Best Revival of a Play, and Finneran was named Best Featured Actress by both groups.

Frayn has continually rewritten the play over the years, the last time being in 2000 at the request of Jeremy Sams. There are numerous differences between the scripts published in 1982 and 2000. Some new sequences have been added (e.g. an introduction to Act Three in which Tim, the Company Stage Manager, and Poppy, the Assistant Stage Manager, make simultaneous apologies — the former in front of the curtain, the latter over the PA — for the delay in the performance). Other sequences have been altered or cut entirely. References (such as Mrs. Clackett's to the Brents having color television) that tend to date the play have been eliminated or rewritten.