OU Theater’s “Noises Off” Delivers Fast-Paced Laughs (PHOTOS)

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Ohio University’s fourth theater production of the 2014-15 school year is a twofer – a humorous play within a play that gives audiences a look at what goes on behind the stage curtain.

The OU Theater Division in the School of Dance, Film and Theater will debut its production of Noises Off on Wednesday, March 25 at 8 p.m in Kantner Hall’s Elizabeth Evans Baker Theater. The show will continue through April 4.

Noises Off, written by English playwright Michael Frayn, is the story of a theater company rehearsing and performing a production called Nothing On. The three-act play follows the company through rehearsals, backstage antics and the performance itself.

Nothing On is a sex farce; a performance full of slapstick comedy and buffoonery. Essentially, Noises Off is a farce about putting on a farce.

“What Noises Off is really about is the hilarious complications, foibles and absurdities of theater itself,” explained Director and third-year M.F.A student Ryan Hollihan.

“It’s very challenging physical comedy. When pulled off, ‘Noises Off’ will make you fall out of your chair laughing.” – Kat Bramley

Hollihan has directed four plays at Ohio University, including Dog Sees God and Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. He has also directed numerous other productions outside the university.

Hollihan is directing Noises Off as his final thesis project to complete his Master’s program. He explained that he chose this play as a challenge, as the script demands a complex set with multiple doors, levels and props.

“It’s a dangerous comical ballet of entrances, exits and mishaps where the play – and the play within the play – perfectly reflects reality with stunning and surreal accuracy,” he said.

Noises Off is meant to serve as an extreme representation of what working in theater is actually like. Hollihan explained that Frayn’s script includes many stereotypical personalities and situations, providing a lighthearted criticism of theater culture and the art itself.

“The tongue is firmly planted in the cheek with this production,” Hollihan said.

Kat Bramley, a third year graduate student in the Professional Actor Training Program, will portray Brooke Ashton in the upcoming performance. Bramley described her character as a fearless model-turned-actor.

“It’s a perfect British farce with an insanely fast pace and tons of zany characters. It’s very challenging physical comedy. When pulled off, [Noises Off] will make you fall out of your chair laughing,” she said.

Through Arts for Ohio, Ohio University students are granted free admission with a valid student ID. General admission is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors. Email or call 740-593-4818 for tickets and show times.