April 24 - May 11, 2014 Marian Theatre
    June 12 - 29, 2014, Solvang Festival Theater
    Noises Off is a comedy best appreciated by children 12 and older due to the more adult storyline. (sexual innuendo)
    Noises Off
    by Michael Frayn
    Generously sponsored by
    Dr. Esteban Fuertes & Alan Foster
    Dene & Emily Hurlbert
    Royce & Ann Foxworthy Lewellen
    The dizziest, funniest, backstage farce ever written, Noises Off careens us through the roller coaster lives of a hapless troupe of provincial actors as they go through the motions of a cringe-worthy comedy known as Nothing On. In a brilliant turnabout of door slamming miscues, misdirections, and misunderstandings, onstage romantic intriguers are foiled by bunglers and burglars, while the players backstage exhibit their best follies and worst foibles spinning the play toward a hysterical climax. The theater world turns with side-splitting results to reveal mystery and mayhem as the cast and crew pull out all the stops to keep track of newspapers and cactuses, former and future lovers, missing cast mates, and the odd sardine.
    Director Paul Barnes
    Fight Choreographer Mark Booher
    Scenic Designer DeAnne Kennedy
    Costume Designer Frederick Deeben
    Lighting Designer Tamar Geist
    Sound Designer Andrew Mark Wilhelm
    Production Stage Manager Suzanne Tyler*
    Cast of Characters

    Dotty Otley Kitty Balay*
    Lloyd Dallas Andrew Philpot*
    Garry Lejeune George Walker
    Brooke Ashton Karin Hendricks
    Poppy Norton-Taylor Andrea Hilbrant
    Frederick Fellowes Michael Jenkinson*
    Belinda Blair Elizabeth Stuart*
    Tim Allgood Paul Henry
    Selsdon Mowbray Peter S. Hadres*
    *Member Actors Equity Association
    Noises Off
    Marian Theatre
    April 24 - May 11, 2014
    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    24 25 26
    27 28 29 30 1 2 3
    4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    Noises Off
    Solvang Festival Theater
    June 12 - 29, 2014
    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    12 13 14
    15 16 17 18 19 20 21
    22 23 24 25 26 27 28
    Santa Maria Performance Times
    1:30pm 7pm 1:30 & 7pm
    Solvang Performance Times

    Michael Frayn is an English playwright, novelist, and translator, currently living outside of London with his wife Claire Tomalin, an English biographer and journalist. He is best known as the playwright for the farce comedy Noises Off (1982), and the dramas Copenhagen (1998) and Democracy (2003). His novels, Towards the End of the Morning (1967), Headlong (1999), and Spies (2002), have also received critical acclaim, making Mr. Frayn one of a handful of English language writers to succeed in both drama and prose fiction.

    Michael was born in Ewell (a suburb of London) on September 8, 1933. His father, Thomas Allen Frayn, was a sales representative for an asbestos company, and his mother, Violet Alice Lawson Frayn, was a shop assistant. Frayn was educated at the prestigious Kingston Grammar School until age twelve when the death of his mother left the family with some financial hardships. He was transferred to a public school where we was very successful academically, particularly in the areas of writing and music. During his two years of National Service, Frayn learned Russian at the Joint Services School for Linguists. He went on to study Philosophy and graduated in 1957 from Emmanuel College in Cambridge. After graduation, Michael worked as a reporter and columnist for The Guardian and The Observer. He established a reputation as a satirist and comic writer and began publishing novels.

    By 1970, Michael had published three popular novels, The Tin Men, The Russian Interpreter, and A Very Private Life. His journey as a playwright was not as easy. He wrote a number of rejected scripts and even produced an evening of his own short plays that was not received well by the audience or critics. However, Frayn kept on writing. In 1982, with the publication of Noises Off, Michael Fryan earned his third Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy of the Year. The first two were Alphabetical Order (1972) and Make or Break (1980), both are typical English office comedies. Copenhagen (1998) won Michael his fourth Evening Standard Award for Best Play of the Year in 1998, as well as the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play.

    In addition to his extensive playwrighting and fiction career, Michael Frayn is noted to be one of Britain’s foremost translators of Chekov, adapting The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. Frayn has also written screenplays for the films Clockwise, starring John Cleese, First and Last, starring Tom Wilkinson, and the TV series Making Faces starring Eleanor Bron.


    Critic Frank Rich has claimed that "Noises Off is, was, and probably always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime.” And we certainly agree with that! The idea for the piece came when Michael Frayn was standing in the wings watching a performance of Chinamen, a farce that he had written for Lynn Redgrave. Frayn said that the show was funnier from backstage than in the audience and he wanted to write a farce from behind the scenes. It began as a one-act play called Exits in 1977 and was expanded and rewritten a number of times.

    Michael Frayn wrote Noises Off in 1982 and it became an instant commercial hit with continuing international fame. It premiered at the Lyric Theatre in London to ecstatic reviews and quickly moved to the West End at the Savoy Theatre, where it ran until 1987, passing the 1000th performance mark. It won the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy in 1982.

    The Broadway premiere was on December 11, 1983 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. It ran for 553 performances and earned a Tony Award for Best Play and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

    Noises Off has become a staple of professional theatre companies, university theatre programs, and community theatres all over the world. Frayn has rewritten the play over the years, with the latest revision in 2000. One of the newest sequences is the introduction to act three, where Tim and Poppy make simultaneous apologies that delay the performance. Certain sequences have been altered or cut from the script entirely. And references that date the play, like Mrs. Clackett’s to the Brents having a color television, have been eliminated or rewritten as well.

    The National Theatre in London mounted a revival in 2000 that ran for two years. It returned to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in November of 2001, where it was nominated for both a Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play. The most recent London revivals ran at the Old Vic Theatre from December 3, 2011 to March 10, 2012 and then the Novello Theatre from March 24 to June 30, 2012. Following was a successful tour through Britain and Ireland.

    In 1992, the play was adapted for the screen by Marty Kaplan. It was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starred Mark Linn-Baker, Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Denholm Elliott, Julie Hagerty, Marilu Henner, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, and Nicollette Sheridan. While it had stellar cast and was a funny film, many critics did not think the theatrical nature of the piece translated well to the screen.


    In a world that is in need of more laughter, Director Paul Mason Barnes is thrilled to be bringing the jaw-dropping great time of Noises Off to the PCPA audience. Michael Frayn’s brilliantly written British farce about life on and off stage during a British farce, is a play about craft, precision and timing. One of the funniest plays ever written, get ready for an unpredictable roller coaster ride through the creative process of putting on a play and the relationships that help, or hinder, that.

    When asked to describe the play in one sentence, Mr. Barnes said: Everything that can possibly go awry goes awry as a well-intentioned, second rate troupe of traveling players tours the English provinces with the sex farce, Nothing On. In one word: lunacy. The biggest challenge when working on this piece is the demand for real craftsmanship so that the audience never gets lost or falls behind the story. They have to be able to follow the action from one point to the next seamlessly so that when we arrive at the end of the ride, no one is left behind in the dust. This is the pay off, all of the set-ups, large and small, making sense to the audience. Farce is infused with its own specific sense of logic. The play demands much repetition, clarity, precision, and a great deal of economy to make it work.

    In beginning the creative process for Noises Off, Paul was resolute that the only acceptable concept for bringing this story to life is to adhere to the brilliance of Michael Frayn’s ingenious script and do everything that we can to follow the intention of the playwright. Frayn has provided a road map that must be paid attention to and needs no imposition. Paul believes that we live in an age of the director-auteur where directors are encouraged to put their own stamp on a production, regardless of what is required by the text, sometimes ignoring the text to put their own “bright ideas” on stage. To try to do this with Noises Off would be folly of the highest order.

    Another challenging element in working on Noises Off is the ability (or lack thereof) to stop laughing long enough in rehearsal that we’ll get the job done by opening night. Mr. Barnes’s greatest fear would be to fall in love with our own cleverness and to go to the place where you veer away from intention and truthfulness to that oh-so-tempting place where you’re trying to make things funnier than they already are. Theatre professionals can get trapped by the idea that if a little bit of one thing or another feels good or provokes laughter, than a lot more of that thing will feel even better or garner bigger laughs. Paul’s concern is that even though there will certainly be moments of tripping into this hole, that the team is able to recognize when they have tumbled and extricate themselves before the audience is numbed into silence and doesn’t respond at all because we all seem to be too busy entertaining ourselves rather than telling Michael Frayn’s story. Adhering to the intention of the playwright is vital to crafting a triumphant production. And of course, following the determined attitude of Belinda and her insistence that the “show must go on,” no matter how much is unraveling!

    George Walker as Garry,
    Kitty Balay* as Dotty,
    Michael Jenkinson* as Frederick,
    Elizabeth Stuart* as Belinda

    George Walker as Garry,
    Kitty Balay* as Dotty

    The Company

    The Company

    Kitty Balay* as Dotty

    George Walker as Garry,
    Karin Hendricks as Brooke,
    Kitty Balay* as Dotty,
    Elizabeth Stuart* as Belinda

    Elizabeth Stuart* as Belinda,
    Kitty Balay* as Dotty,
    Andrew Philpot* as Lloyd,
    Andrea Hilbrant as Poppy,
    Michael Jenkinson* as Frederick

    The Company

    Michael Jenkinson* as Frederick,
    George Walker as Garry,
    Andrea Hilbrant as Poppy

    *Member, Actors' Equity Association
    Photos: Luis Escobar Reflections Photography Studio
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