“Noises Off!” Cast and Crew Prepare for Upcoming Shows

As the weekend of “Noises Off!” draws near, actors and tech crew work on finishing preparations


Esther Puderbaugh

Actors in “Noises Off!” pose for a picture.

Anastacia Laux, A&E Editor

With upcoming performances of Noises Off! this weekend on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon, the theater is in full action as the drama team rushes to finish preparations in time for the show. The team works against the clock to complete everything before showtime, which runs on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“In the last week, there are always late nights, extra hours, frustration, and joy when something goes from ‘not working’ to ‘working.’ When we do the show, everything has to work together, and that’s a feat that often takes more practice than we think we have time for,” Doug Lestina, the tech director, said. “The fun part is bringing all the parts together to work for the show. That’s what the last week is [for], it brings everything together.” 

This week, the actors have been staying late after school to perfect their lines and performance.

“It’s a pretty long week,” Charlie Faden ‘22, an actor for the play, said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had an in-depth tech week. [The work nights] are pretty late all week. We’re here usually until ten.”

Leading up to the weekend of the show, both the actors and tech crew work on putting together the play. 

“Actors go out and meet to practice lines. For me, I have a lot more lines [this year] than I’ve had before. Blocking has been much more for everybody,” Faden said.

While the actors have worked on memorization, the tech crew has worked on constructing the set onstage. The set is two floors in height and elaborated with stone bricks. Strategically placed on a turntable, the entire set rotates 180 degrees to introduce the audience to a new setting.

Richard Burke, the manager of construction, came up with the design of the set. In the script, the setting is placed in Britain at a hunting lodge that had been converted from an old-fashioned mill. With this in mind, Burke took inspiration from photos he collected off of the internet.

“It was hard to make the set as big as possible and have it fit on our stage, even though the stage is quite large,” Burke said. “There are so many doorways, and you have to incorporate all of the doors that the script calls for, which I believe is eight or nine, and a couple of windows. It’s hard to squeeze those into the space and make it true to life.”

Because of how the structure was placed due to the turntable, the tech crew was faced with the challenge of creating a coherent and safe set.

“You have to think about things like how there have to be entrances and exits that work for everybody, and the director has to know when and how to use those,” Lestina said. “You have to think about the safety of the set since you have multiple floors, and stairs, and you have doors that are opening and closing as well. There are safety issues you have to deal with to make sure no one gets hurt while they’re [on stage], because the entire set spins.”

Lestina described the types of concerns faced by the construction crew in designing the set.

“You have to think about the engineering of how you’re going to build the floor, so it can spin in one continuous motion easily. It’s the type of set where it’s large and takes up the entire stage. There’s a lot of measuring that has to be done to ensure that everything will fit and work,” Lestina said.

Along with the challenges of building the set, the team has also had difficulties with having enough experienced members. Due to the pandemic, many of the sophomores and juniors missed out on participating in high school theater during their previous years, leading to a gap in skills between the seniors and the grades below them.

“I feel like there’s this ‘passing down’ from the older kids teaching the younger students. The directors and I, the adults, don’t have to be directly involved. But this year, because we sort of skipped one generation, and we have these freshmen and sophomores that are coming in, I’ve had to do hours more of instruction because we just don’t have the seniors from last year, and we don’t really have anyone [experienced] in the middle,” Lestina said.

On Wednesday, the actors performed a preview for classes, and they are running through a full dress rehearsal on Thursday, the day before the curtains open. Students and families can purchase tickets at the entrance of the theater on the days of the shows.