DON’T you like farce? Make your mind up after the frenetic energy and affairs that fuel Michael Freyn’s three-act wonder, ‘Noises Off’. College Players, under first time director Dave Griffin, take up this challenge at Lime Tree Theatre from November 10 to 14 with a cast of nine, seven of these playing two characters each.
Special guests Metropolitan Mayor Jerry O’Dea and NY Origin festival’s Best Actor Myles Breen supported the media launch at Culture House, underlining College Players’ longevity, sense of community and unique achievement in the context of “renaissance” Limerick.
‘Noises Off’ is complicated. Better still, a rotating stage runs scenes simultaneously, bringing us the audience in the chamber, right into the making of theatre, and a play within a play.
“‘Noises Off’ was described as the most clever English comedy written when it first emerged,” recalls Padhraic Hastings, actor. “It is clever, the whole concept and the unique way in which it is staged”.
As chairman of College Players (est. 1926) and as actor he takes Arts page through this playful tilt-and-turn of life on set, with glimpses of rehearsals, life on tour, ‘the show’ and much carry on.
“Act 2 takes us backstage as the set rotates and the action becomes chaotic. Actors have romances, rows, there is drinking. Act 3 the set rotates again and now we are at the end of tour, months have gone by and the entire production is sliding downhill.
“Relationships are more fraught and by accident or design, the cast are trying to kill each other, on stage and off”.
Padhraic plays Selsdon, and a burglar. “Selsdon is an ageing Shakespearean actor, one of the great old men of the theatre who spends much of his time backstage trying to find a bottle of whiskey”.
Over to AIMS Best Actor winner Dave Griffin who directs this split stage of follies. ”Where Freyn shows his genius is kind of sending up the sense of farce – farce was traditionally a filler between serious drama. Yet here there is the depth of serious tragedy and the highs of high comedy, Freyn sends up that idea and this is a very, very serious comedy”.
Dave has gathered an accomplished cast and crew, of professionals and semi-professionals. The actors are Liam O’Brien on a rare break from producing, directing and touring; Chris Rowley, Brendan McNamara, Padhraic and newcomers [to College Players, let that be clear] Dan Mooney, Sadhbh McCoy, Rachel Griffin, Rebecca Murphy and Miriam Ball.
Book for this high-brow craziness at www.limetreetheatre.ie to see who survives the knife-edge rivalry.