Dells to premiere ‘Noises Off’ Monday
British ‘play within a play’ to challenge student actors
November 06. 2012 7:00AM
In a few days, drama students at Dell Rapids are about to get meta. A play within a play will hit the school’s stage Monday and Tuesday, and a crew of seasoned performers are ready to meet the challenge.
This year’s play, Noises Off, follows the backstage antics of a cast and crew as they put on a production of a flop play entitled Nothing’s On. Auditions for the play were held in mid-September, and shows are set for Nov. 12-13, at 7 p.m., at the middle school commons.
“It’s one of those productions that you never regret seeing more than once, as there’s so much going on you may miss it the first time,” director Sharon Mitchell said. “The play falls apart and never quite comes back together as it should, but it is much more entertaining that way.”
The drama adviser said that the actors this year have to be quick on their toes, covering for purposefully missed cues and prop and set “errors.”
“Needless to say, they’ve worked on the ‘improv’ demands of this production,” she said. “It can make a director nervous, but the actors are taking it all in stride.”
With rehearsals ongoing throughout the past few months, Mitchell said the cast and crew has been doing well putting the show together. Despite the students’ busy schedules, including last weekend’s “Creepy Hollows” fundraiser, practices have been going smoothly.
“They had an extremely successful event that we’re all hoping will become an annual fundraiser for our program,” Mitchell said of the drama department at Dells High School. “Many of the cast and crew members are also involved in oral interp, which has taken them on the road for numerous tournaments throughout the season.”
But with an audition roster that included both experienced and new faces amongst the Dells Rapids students involved, Mitchell said the casting process was a tough one this outing.
“I was very pleased to see a lot of new faces auditioning for this year’s play,” she said. “The cast for Noises Off is somewhat smaller than we’ve had in the past, so auditions were more competitive. I’m hoping to see those people audition again for the one act.”
But the finalized cast list includes strong performers, according to Mitchell, who said that the seasoned performances at Dell Rapids are evident among these students.
“Some of these juniors especially have participated for four years already, as they made their stage debuts in the eighth grade,” she said. “It’s nice to have a cast that knows their way around some blocking and especially one that knows what to expect when the curtain opens and the lights come up on opening night.”
In addition to the usual challenges with putting on a play, student participants this year are taking on British style, including accent work.
“They have all been honing their English accents, and I often hear them throughout the day responding to friends and faculty using their accents and some of the catchier lines in the play,” the director said of the cast members’ practice techniques.
With the premiere a week away, Mitchell thinks the energy and ability to rise to the occasion will help the young performers through the two-day engagement.
“The demands of performing something that is out of our familiar understanding gives student actors a chance to have a go at accents, playing characters much older than them with a vocabulary that is unfamiliar, yet still having to communicate an author’s story.
“I’m looking forward to reflecting back on this challenge and seeing how we did.”
CAST AND CREW
Vicki/Brooke: Darrian Grassi
Roger/Garry: Tad Lacey
Poppy: Taiven Logan
Selsdon Mowbray: Jacob Ritter
Lloyd: Michael Mitchell
Philip/Frederick: Luke Snoozy
Flavia/Belinda: Jessica Tisher
Tim: Jill Nelsen
Stage Mgr.: Cassidy Wright
Crew Members: Paige Lampe, Bryanna Schull, Hannah Fiedler, Morgan Jensen, Courtney Sorsen