Byron High School presented “Noises Off” as its fall play Nov. 1-3 at the Byron Middle School performing arts center. Cast and crew included: (Behind the couch from left to right) David Nickel; Jay Puffer; Andy Lawrence; Matt Sigrist; Jake Leif; and
Tyler Welhaven. (On couch from left to right) Allie Krings; Jill Gelle; Dani Buck; Samantha Iversen; and Erica Thompson. (Front row) Paul Klompenshower;
Chad Hjellming; Erin Haefner; Emely Koehler and Erika Miller.
By David Richards
They pulled it off.
The cast members of "Noises Off," Byron High School's fall play, wrapped up a three-performance run Nov. 3.
The production was held at Byron Middle School.
"I'm so proud of them," said BHS theatre director Sandra Hennings Miller. "They did a super job. I couldn't have asked for a better cast."
"Noises Off" was written by Michael Frayn and was made into a 1992 movie of the same name starring Carol Burnett and Michael Caine.
The plot essentially features a play within a play as the first act opens with the cast rehearsing for a production called, "Nothing On."
The second act then takes the audience behind the scenes of "Nothing On," and into all of the drama that might happen when a cast works that closely together day in and day out.
The third act resembles the first act in that we're back on the stage of "Nothing On," only the actors are now acting in the play instead of rehearsing for it, with lines blown and cues missed because of the heightened tension.
Some audience members found the "play within a play" concept a bit hard to follow at first, before being sold by the solid Byron High performers, the complex set and the cleverness of the plot.
"I think it's amazing," said Rochester resident Sheila Cada, during the second intermission. "It was hard to understand at first, but we caught on pretty quick."
Alice Adamson, Cada's mother, agreed.
"It's hysterical," she said. "I think they're doing a wonderful job."
The cast had the difficult task of keeping all of its lines straight as many of the actors had to repeat lines three or four times because of the "Nothing On" play they're at first rehearsing and then performing in.
And unlike some plays, "Noises Off," isn't driven by one single lead character and a bunch of supporting ones, but instead by what's essentially an entire cast of leads.
"I'm extremely proud with the way it came out," said Tyler Welhaven, who played Garry Lejeune. "We kind of got out to a rocky start. I can't believe we did it, but we did."
All of the performers were strong, from David Nickel's "Burglar" to the rest of the cast made up of Welhaven, Dani Buck, Allie Krings, Jill Gelle, Jay Puffer, Erica Thompson, Matthew Sigrist and Samantha Iversen.
Jake Leif also did well as the director of the play within the play, delivering lines such as, "And God said let the doors open when they're supposed to open and let them close when they're supposed to close."
Leif said the play within a play concept had both its pros and its cons.
"On one hand, you can just call out when you need something and no one will know," he said. "On the other hand, you have to think about the first play and the second play and it gets confusing."
The set design would have to be seen to be believed.
It's crucial because the first and third acts take place in the front of the set, while the second act takes place behind it.
Hennings Miller said it was built by Harry Coleman, who works at Rochester Community and Technical College.
"It took a long time to build, so the actors didn't have the set to work with until the last week," she said.
After three consecutive days of performances, "Noises Off" wrapped up for good.
Hennings Miller called it a success. "It's an extremely difficult play, and they handled it like true professionals."