“Noises Off” to open SCERA Indoor Season Sept. 15 with Doors, Sardines and an All Star Cast

(Orem, Utah) — Director Chase Ramsey saw the movie “Noises Off” as a kid and thought it offered a brilliant master class on farce and pacing.  He loved it, and was “obsessed” with the comedic talents of Carol Burnett, John Ritter and Michael Caine.

Ramsey still thinks it is a perfect master class, and is thrilled to direct the play “Noises Off” for SCERA Center for the Arts before he travels to Los Angeles where he directs theme park shows for Disney, works on the The Food Network and stars in the video series “California Dream Eater.”

English playwright Michael Frayn was inspired to write “Noises Off” while standing in the wings and watching a performance of his farce, “The Two of Us.” He thought the action off stage was funnier than in front and decided he would someday write a comedy about what goes on behind the scenes.

“The writer nailed it,” Ramsey says. “In this play-within-a-play, you have an ambitious director dealing with a group of truly mediocre performers. They are rehearsing a silly comedic farce called ‘Nothing On,’ and it is wonderfully disastrous. The ruined performance takes place onstage during a dress rehearsal, backstage during a matinee, and on stage where mayhem, improvisations and pandemonium reign. “

From bad acting, missed cues, and romantic love triangles, to over-the-top revenge—and even flying plates of sardines—the full-fledged theatrical disaster breaks down into a hilarious laugh riot.

“Noise Off” will open Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and continue Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 7. Reserved-seat tickets at $14 for adults and $12 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older are available at www.scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS, in person at the SCERA Center, 745 S. State St., Orem, open 10am-6pmweekdays and Saturday from 12noon-6pm, or at the ticket office 30 minutes prior to the show.

“We have assembled nine amazing lead performers who exhibit unique character quirks,” Ramsey says. “Among others, you’ve got a player who can’t finish a sentence, another who is sweet but can’t figure out the plot and gets nosebleeds, a mindless novice who somehow made it into the business, and a stage manager who suffers from the men around her. They throw all their personalities into the fire and we get to see how it reacts.”

When Ramsey was holding auditions, he looked for people he would like to “hang out with” for a couple of months. “I looked for gracious, awesome people with whom I could collaborate,” he says. “You know, this is the rare play where you can take a fairly poor actor who knows how to get through the farce really quickly and it will still work. That is because the text is already built so well. But I got more. This cast happens to be incredible, which means we can present the play on several other levels.”

The cast of local All Star theatre veterans includes David Smith, Brittni Bills Smith, DeLayne Bluth Dayton, Shawn Mortensen, Rob Holcombe, Rex Kocherhans, Shannon Follette, Janessa Lamb Ramsey, and Zack Elzey. Many of the cast members are directors, drama teachers, choreographers or have acted on professional stages.  “The level of talent sharing the stage together is going to be something to behold,” says SCERA’s President and CEO Adam J. Robertson.

“We might be a little behind our rehearsal schedule because we laugh all the time,” Ramsey explains. “Every 10 minutes or so we will have a moment where somebody says or does something funny and we all die laughing.”

He says he is more an audience member and less a director for “Noises Off.” “I am useless,” he laughs. “For the first time in my life, I am largely sitting back and watching these brilliant players solve the equation. It isn’t called ‘the funniest farce ever written’ for no reason. It is pure joy.”

Cole McClure has designed an intricate set that will show the audience how to turn a whole set around without having a rotating stage, says Ramsey. “The set has two sides so you can see the stage as the public sees it, and then backstage as well.” Props are also an important element to heighten the comedic chaos of the show, with sardines being the center of an ongoing joke.

Ramsey directed SCERA’s sold-out production of “My Fair Lady” this past spring.  “Chase grew up in our youth theatre program, and the talent he showed back then has multiplied many times over.  He’s very talented, and has a great touch as a director,” adds SCERA President and CEO Adam J. Robertson.

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