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Noises Off for Innisfail Town Theatre’s new spring production

Innisfail theatre group quickly returns following last fall’s successful Agatha Christie production
MVT Noises Off
Cast members for the new Innisfail Town Theatre's spring production, Noises Off, go through early read-throughs of the script during a recent rehearsal. Submitted photo

INNISFAIL – With Innisfail Town Theatre finally being able to pull off it’s first production last fall, the first since 2019, the theatre group is back to rehearsals preparing for its spring show called Noises Off.

“We were of course pretty apprehensive about the whole thing but it went well,” said Patrick Gleason, president of ITT, of Agatha Christie’s whodunnit mystery classic And Then There Were None. “We made a modest profit, which was for us was a relief. We thought we were going to lose money and we just couldn’t afford to lose a cent. We decided to then go ahead with this spring production, and rehearsals have started.”

ITT’s new Noises Off production at the Ol' Moose Hall is a take on the 1982 play by English playwright Michael Frayn. Gleason, the co-producer of the new production, describes the three-act production, which is co-directed by Kim Norlin and Innisfail High School drama teacher Rob Burton, as being a fast-paced farcical comedy, a play within a play.

He said set construction for Noises Off, which has also started, is a “little bit complicated” because part of what happens in the play is what is happening to the cast members backstage.

“The play is about a play that stumbles from production to production and at times the cast members are kind of at war with each other, much to the director’s anguish,” said Gleason of the farcical comedy. “It is almost like three acts where it’s the same act trying to get it right the first time. I guess it is pretty madcap.”

Gleason said one of the reasons Noises Off was chosen was that it has a good reputation, becoming a regular production for professional theatre companies and community theatres in Europe and North America, including several runs on Broadway. Noises Off was also made into a film in 1992 that starred Carol Burnett, Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve.

“It is also very ambitious because of the set, because of not only what is happening in front of the stage but it also has to portray what’s happening at the back of the stage,” said Gleason. “The timing between cast members has to be just spot on. So, it’s a challenge.”

He said the play also does not feature huge special roles for just a few of the nine-member cast. Gleason said most roles have “fairly equal parts.”

Rehearsals began in mid-January, and will continue for several weeks. The play won’t be ready for the public until April. However, precise dates and times have not yet been set.

“We will have definitive dates and advertisements later on. I know that Rob (Burton) the director really felt they had to start early because there is such a need for the timing between the characters . . . the complexity of it,” he said.

And like last fall’s And Then There Were None production the upcoming Noises Off shows will follow strict COVID restrictions.

“It’s like most other things right now. It’s a bit of a tight rope walk. We want to make sure we are following all of AHS’s regulations,” said Gleason. “Right now, the cast is doing read-throughs for the most part. Everybody who is part of the cast has to have all their vaccinations. There is nobody that can be in the play that isn’t vaccinated.”

In the meantime, Gleason said last fall’s production, which encountered delays because of the pandemic, was a good learning lesson for ITT, and one he feels will help everybody handle current COVID-related trials.

“It was nerve wracking but we were very fortunate to go through with the production,” said Gleason. “We have that experience and we can build on that experience, and keep our fingers crossed that AHS will still let us continue.

“We will follow regulations, so if they are saying, ‘sorry, that’s it folks.’ Well, that’s it. We’ll pack it up.”


Johnnie Bachusky

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