NOISES OFF NEXT TO HIT
THE RON MASLIN PLAYHOUSE STAGE

by Clare Flockton
(note: this appears in local newspapers about January 13th, 2006)

While you have been clearing away your holiday decorations into the attic, the cast and crew of Kanata Theatre's next hit play, Noises Off, written by Michael Frayn, have been hard at work making sure they will delight audiences at the end of the month.
As the end of their ten week rehearsal schedule draws to a close, the cast, led by director Brooke Keneford, are ironing out any and all wrinkles before bringing this fast-paced farce to centre stage.

Noises Off centres around a theatre company led by director Lloyd Dallas, played by Rob Johnstone. Dallas is desperately fighting chaos and trying to pull his production together, despite the best efforts of the cast and crew. His cast includes the dotty Dotty Otley (Jenefer Haynes) who can barely remember her lines, the elderly and nearly deaf Selsdon (Chris O'Toole), the bombshell Brooke (Natasha Bourke-Wilson), the inarticulate Garry (Gordon Walls), the overly nervous Frederick (Barry Caiger), and the ever-game Belinda (Janet Alkan). We follow the hilarious production from final rehearsals, through to opening night and onto the tour; as with any group of actors forced to work this closely together for any great length of time, romances and arguments are bound to break out. Quite often, what's happening on stage is nothing compared to what's happening backstage.

Noises Off will run at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, 1 Ron Maslin Way (at Terry Fox), Tuesday to Saturday from January 31 - February. 4, then again from February 7 - 11.
The Kanata Theatre box office will open on January 17. Box office hours will be Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.

Opening night features a complimentary champagne reception. Curtain is at 8 pm sharp. The playhouse is fully accessible with plenty of free parking. Tickets are $15.

Visit the website at kanatatheatre.com for more information. To reserve your seat call the Kanata Theatre Box Office at 831-4435.

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NOISES OFF DANGEROUS FOR KANATA THEATRE ACTORS

by Jim Holmes

Kanata Theatre’s next show, Noises Off by Michael Frayn, is fraught with peril.

Every production of Noises Off has some experience with injury. No wonder! The actors work on a two story set with stairs and doors all over the place and an assortment of props such as axes, bottles, boxes, telephone wire, sardines, bedsheets, and most of all a cactus, all wielded with lethal intent. The pace is seldom less than frenetic.

At a rehearsal last week one of the actors tried from the stage to explain to the director why another actor was not in place: “He went to get a bandage. That’s two of them. Barry cut his thumb. I’ve got a bruised shoulder going through that door. Gord fell off the back of the set. And Natasha tripped going up the stairs in her heels.”

What on earth did Michael Frayn have in mind? Why would he expose actors to so much physical danger? Why did one of the most prolific and recognized literary figures of the age descend into the subterranean world of farce? What would draw this distinguished philosopher, linguist, satirist, playwright, translator of four great Chekhov plays, novelist, Booker prize nominee, and most recently author of the Tony Award winning Copenhagen, one of the most intelligent, serious and demanding plays of our age, to the world of Ray Cooney with its slamming doors, pretty girls in underwear, mistaken identity, impossible coincidences and all the other trappings of this lowest and most popular form of English comedy?

You may find the answers to some of these questions in Kanata Theatre’s production of Noises Off.

It is often said that Noises Off is a farce about a farce, but it is much more than that. The line between comedy and farce is strictly observed at the opening of the play about a troop of real traveling players in the last throes of rehearsal of a farce called Nothing On. The actors in Nothing On have brought too much personal baggage to their task, but they manage to stumble awkwardly through the rehearsal in time for opening night.

In Act II you get a rare look backstage on opening night. Not only do things go wrong; they almost never go right. By the end, comedy and farce have become hopelessly intertwined. Life indeed imitates art, and vice versa. And the audience is rolling in the aisles!

Noises Off
is directed by Brooke Keneford.  It runs at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, 1 Ron Maslin Way (at Terry Fox), Tuesday to Saturday from January 31 - February. 4, then again from February 7 - 11.  Opening hours for the Box Office are Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. until noon on Saturdays. On performance nights, the Box Office stays open until after the curtain rises.

Opening night features a complimentary champagne reception. Curtain is at 8 pm sharp. The playhouse is fully accessible with plenty of free parking. Tickets are $15.

Visit the website at kanatatheatre.com for more information. To reserve your seat call the Kanata Theatre Box Office at 831-4435.

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Kanata Theatre Repeats Smash Hit!

 
by Jim Holmes

When Noises Off opens January 31 it will join an exclusive club!

Although Kanata Theatre has performed more than 150 mainstage plays in its 37 year history it has only repeated three of them. Noises Off becomes the fourth. The other repeated plays were The Importance of Being Earnest (1974 and 1996), The Waltz of the Toreadors (1970 and 1997) and You Can’t Take It With You (1977and 2002). Of these Noises Off is the soonest to be re-staged after its original production.

To earn a second production a play must have that rare combination of merit and audience appeal that gives it “legs” and makes it a standard. Noises Off has these qualities in spades. Kanata Theatre’s first production of Noises Off, performed on the stage of Earl of March Secondary School in 1988, was one of the company’s most successful.

The new Noises Off benefits from some interesting connections with that earlier show. Jenefer Haynes will reprise the role of Dotty Otley, the memory impaired actress who plays Mrs. Clackett in Nothing On, the play within a play that supplies the central plot of Noises Off. Haynes has found a new approach to Dotty. In this show audiences will find her dialect more north country than the central London of the previous show. Doreen Boss is the only other actor who has played the same character (Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest) in two Kanata Theatre productions.

A confusing but equally important link is Brooke Keneford who played Lloyd, the director of Nothing On, “the one with the English degree”, in the 1988 show. This time he is the real director, his earlier role having been usurped by Rob Johnstone. Keneford comes to his new job with experience acquired the first time round and with an instinct for comedy honed by appearances in countless Kanata Theatre farces, including last season’s hit Caught in the Net.

And speaking of Noises Off experience, Chris O’Toole (Selsdon Mowbray) and Barry Caiger (Freddy) have both appeared in earlier productions of the play with other groups. This will be O’Toole’s third Noises Off, each time as a different character. First time Noises Offers Janet Alkan, (Belinda), Gord Walls (Gary), Mike Hammond (Tim), Carrie Owen (Poppy), and Natasha Bourk-Wilson (Brooke) round out the cast.

Noises Off
is directed by Brooke Keneford.  It runs at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, 1 Ron Maslin Way (at Terry Fox), Tuesday to Saturday from January 31 - February. 4, then again from February 7 - 11. The Kanata Theatre box office is now open. Box office hours are Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.

Opening night features a complimentary champagne reception. Curtain is at 8 pm sharp. The playhouse is fully accessible with plenty of free parking. Tickets are $15.

Visit the website at kanatatheatre.com for more information. To reserve your seat call the Kanata Theatre Box Office at 831-4435.

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