Farcical ‘Noises Off’ to play on Community Theatre League stage

If a stage manager in England wants to quiet the cast and crew just minutes before the curtain rises, he doesn’t whisper “quiet, backstage,” but simply yells “Noises Off!”

The Community Theatre League presents this frantic farce at 7:30 p.m. March 22-23 and March 28-30, with a 2 p.m. matinee March 31 at the downtown theater, 100 West Third St.

Michael Frayne’s “Noises Off” first staged on the Great White Way in 1982. Revived in subsequent productions, it has been dubbed the funniest farce ever written.

With an ambitious, waggish director barking orders, a mediocre troupe rehearses a silly sex farce “Nothing On” on stage, while each of the cast backstage is beset by their real or imaginary personal problems.

The comic catastrophe is played in three acts: Act I, on stage, during a disastrous dress rehearsal; Act II, backstage, a month later during an dreadful and abortive matinee; and Act III, during a final performance of its ten weeks’ tour, when everything imaginable goes wrong.

Tempers flare as actors break character and forget their lines, props are misplaced, and secret backstage romances are exposed.

Kahlie DeHotman, having made her Main Stage directing debut overseeing last season’s “Rumors,” returns to CTL’s director’s chair for “Noises Off.”

She admits her initial concerns about the technical aspects of the show, as the prop list is huge, the costumes are from the 1980s, and the two-story set has to spin 360 degrees.

DeHotman predicts that the audience members’ funny bones will be tickled as they witness the physical slapstick and pandemonium of “the farce-within-a-farce” from three different perspectives.

DeHotman is also enthusiastic about the cast, which she classifies as mostly “seasoned veterans with decades of experience and training behind them.”

Having to learn one or two dialects apiece, and playing the over-the-top, comical characters are: Danielle Velkoff, Billy Martel, Ashley Larson, Stephanie Hines, Sean Engemann, Elizabeth Snow, Cameron Edinger, Brad Heffner and Kyle Huggins.

“This is a dream show for most of us. A bucket list show! It’s easily the funniest script that I’ve ever read,” DeHotman notes.

This play is not recommended for audiences under the age of 13. Running time for the show is approximately two-and-a-half hours with two intermissions.

“Our aim is to make ‘Noises Off’ the funniest show that has ever been performed at CTL,” DeHotman says. “From love triangles to missing-and-presumed drunk actors, to an intentional axe murder, the action in this show never stops.”

Fast-paced and farcically funny, “Noises Off” has heaps of verbal and physical humor — and even a plate of slippery sardines.

For more information, call 570-327-1777 or visit ctlshows.com.