In an unusual twist, the best performances of “Noises Off” feature absolutely everything going wrong.

In an unusual twist, the best performances of “Noises Off” feature absolutely everything going wrong.
The play, which is being performed at McPherson High School Friday and Saturday, highlights the drama on- and off-stage during an ill-prepared cast’s final rehearsal before opening night.
It’s a favorite of director Greg McGlynn, who saw the play 30 years ago in London during its premier season.
“We weren’t quite sure what we were in store for,” McGlynn said. “”All of a sudden, three rows behind us, an audience member begins yelling at the actors on stage. At first we thought he might be mentally disturbed. Then we figured out the plot.”
The audience member was actually an actor playing the director of the play the actors on-stage were trying to perform. The director becomes increasingly frustrated as actors miss cues and misplace props and sets fail to function as they should.
“It’s a play within a play that has our attention and laughter from curtain up to curtain down—or a blackout in this case,” McGlynn said.

The unusual setup has been an interesting experience for the cast and crew. Nicole Gieselman, a junior who plays Belinda Blair and has been in theater since elementary school, said learning to play two parts has been a challenge.
“You have your character, and then you have the character your character is playing,” Gieselman said. “It’s a lot to put together, but once you get it together, it’s rewarding.”
McGlynn said the challenge is well worth the effort.
“I love the physical challenge the roles bring to the actors, and I love the technical challenge the set and props bring to my crews,” McGlynn said. “In my past 34 years of being involved with the Theater Arts, I can’t think of a more enjoyable and challenging show to perform in or direct.”
There are some upsides, though John Blake, who plays Frederick Fellowes, said he enjoys talking in a British accent.
“They’re so much fun, and sometime’s it’s hard to stop,” Blake said—while doing the accent.
“Noises Off” will play at McPherson High School at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.  There will also be a dinner theater at 6 p.m. Saturday available through advance reservations.
“If you’re in the mood for some silly, safe door slamming farce, come visit the English Theatre of “Noises Off” at McPherson High School”

Contact Josh Arnett by email at and follow him on Twitter @ArnettSentinel.