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7 to 9 p.m.
228 Museum Dr., Lansing
THURSDAY, NOV. 29 — The farcical production capturing the chaos of thespian life behind the curtain comes to the Riverwalk Theatre with show times from Nov. 29 to Dec. 9.
Despite being written in the late ‘70s and debuting in 1982, Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” remains an accurate and comedic description of the old adage “the show must go on.”
Michael Hays is directing.
“You absolutely do encounter these things,” Hays said. “People get tired and fatigued. Doors do get broken. Just a couple nights ago, an actor took out a railing and almost got hurt. So things can often go haywire on you.”
Frayn got the idea for “Noises Off” while watching a performance of his play “The Two of Us” from backstage, realizing the behind the scenes antics could have a life on the stage all their own.
The set will be a major star of the show, Hays said.
“It is a gigantic set and one person can spin the whole thing around. There is so much physical humor it is unbelievable,” he said.
In act two, the play is performed away from audience members to provide a backstage view of what a production looks like. “Trying to coordinate what is happening on one side with the ‘other side’ is a big challenge. We had to practice many runs.”
This production will be the a first for leading actress Sunita Haberlein who plays aging TV actress Dotti Otley in the play.
“When she walked out of the audition process I said you forgot to mark down your past experience and she said she didn't have any,” Hays said. “I took a chance and she might be the funniest damn thing in the whole show.”
The production has been modified from its original British roots.
“To be honest, I was never concerned with my actors having great British accents. What we did do is what I imagine what other productions do,” Hays said. “In the second act, you see everything from the back of a play and we make it 2018 Americanized with cellphones in the background.”
Hays said all directors and actors will encounter a “show must go on” moment in time. For Hays, it was having to perform after a severely injured knee.
“Many years ago, I had a role in ‘Of Mice and Men’ and I made a particular turn with a tender knee. My knee gave way and I had to keep performing the following day and had to have surgery as soon as the show closed,” Hays said.
More events in Lansing:
8 to 10:30 p.m., Peppermint Creek Theatre Company, 6025 Curry Lane, Lansing
7 to 9 p.m., Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing
5 to 8 p.m., Potter Park Zoo, 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing