Theatre Review: Noises off is a farce indeed!

August 14th, 2010 – Independence Day
August 15, 2010
Pakistan Extraordinary
September 5, 2010

An entertaining show, from set design to art direction, costumes to make up, from lights to sound, Noises off was simply a marvellous display By Sadaf Pervez

An entertaining show, from set design to art direction, costumes to make up, from lights to sound, Noises off was simply a marvellous display

By Sadaf Pervez

Noises Off

A scene from Noises off

I

t was curtain time. Noises off was off to a frantic start with slamming doors, clothes tossed all over the place, utter chaos, high jinks, subtle variations and comic moments that drew involuntary laughs – it’s a piece of theatre about theatre; a rare glimpse of what goes on backstage – the actors on stage were apparently rehearsing a play called Nothing on.

Nothing goes right in act one; it’s a dress rehearsal of the play they are planning to stage – the actors forget their lines, make wrong entrances, and scream at each other while the set rolls on frantically in the background. It’s not going well, the director, Lloyd Dallas (played by Omair Rana) is annoyed and keeps screaming at the stage from the back of the audience (which actually amazed and enthralled the hall). The cast keeps forgetting their lines and missing their cues.

Lights dim; act two starts with the entire set revolving around at 360 degree angle – I understand, to better tell a story from the backstage. It was fun to see a rotating set, which was perhaps a first, certainly for the audience and probably for Pakistani theatre too. Act two is about the deteriorating personal relationships, the characters back stabbing each other, leading to confusion and off-stage shenanigans that was actually quite entertaining to watch and drew quite a few laughs from the audience. Act two also set the stage for the final act – the enactment of Nothing on.

By act three, the actors were quite desperate to be finally done with the play. Dottie (played by Ayesha Alam) actually made a few mistakes during her opening scene, dropping her popcorn, forgetting her lines and had to literally improvise on her feet, the rest of the characters in turn made a series of mistakes trying to play along, while Brooke kept going with her original lines, not realizing the play was changing right before her eyes and the original lines were no longer appropriate! It became quite a comical extravaganza; a literal comedy of errors that drew quite a lot of laughs from the audience.

An entertaining show, from set design to art direction, costumes to make up, from lights to sound, Noises off was simply a marvellous display; Dottie (Ayesha Alam) was quite dotty; clad in pink and white; she delivered the witty dialogue with perfect timing. Dallas (Omair Rana) was also a delight to watch in the role of frustrated director and womanizer while the rest of the characters also did a good job including Fazeelat Aslam as Poppy, Ian Eldred as Garry, Salman Naseer as Freddy, and Zainab Ahmed as Brooke and Mina Malik as Belinda. Wasiq Qadeer (producer of the play) had a reason to smile by the end of the show too.

noises off -2

Another scene from Noises off - photos courtesy of Sadaf Pervez

A few might not like the farcical nature of the play but it made a pleasant change from the usual run of the mill plays. It was indeed a farce and quite fun to watch. It has my vote. Not bad, not bad at all. ■

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

4 Comments

  1. More reading?

    By Sadaf Pervez
    http://www.tkfr.com/?tag=by-sadaf-pervez

    extra
    http://www.tkfr.com/?cat=27

    lifestyles
    http://www.tkfr.com/?cat=26

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  2. Noises Off is a 1982 play by English playwright Michael Frayn. The idea for it was born in 1970, when Frayn was standing in the wings watching a performance of Chinamen, a farce that he had written for Lynn Redgrave. According to the playwright, “It was funnier from behind than in front and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind.”[1] The prototype, a short-lived one-act play entitled Exits, was written and performed in 1977. At the request of associate Michael Codron, Frayn expanded the play into what would become Noises Off.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noises_Off

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  3. Noises off: How Burqavaganza pitted theatre against conservative Pakistan

    A satirical play about love in the time of jihad has sparked outrage – but would more ‘tolerant’ countries have reacted differently?

    Our journey around the blogs begins in Pakistan this week. The New York Times blog has news of a controversy that has ignited in recent months about a play entitled Burqavaganza.

    The show (a clip of which can be seen here) is being produced by the Radical Pakistani Theatre Company: Ajoka. According to the Times “Burqavaganza is a love story in the time of jihad. A young couple struggle to form a relationship as societal forces try to keep them apart. The satirical play … doesn’t sidestep any of the country’s problems: a creeping radicalisation, terrorism, government corruption and interference by western nations, especially the United States.” The aim of the play, according to the company, is to “to challenge the mindsets, provoke the audience to rethink and break the chains of prejudice and outdated values.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2010/jul/07/noises-off-burqa-theatre-pakistan

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  4. Theatre
    Keeping other Noises off the radar

    By SCHEHERAZADE ASLAM

    Amidst reports of flooding, David Cameron?s diplomatic gaffe, Air Blue crash, and Karachi violence, Pakistanis have had no shortage of dismal news. The latest theatrical production in town, Noises Off, aims to provide a brief, comedic respite from the daily grind of the media. Producer Wasiq Qadeer is to be commended for putting up a brave front and bringing Noises Off to Lahore.

    http://splus.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Theatre/15-Aug-2010/Keeping-other-Noises-off-the-radar

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