Monday, May 30, 2011

Scandal in culise/Noises Off – Theater à la Braila style

EuroArt theater festival took place in the city last week. Because I started looking for tickets rather late, I only found tickets to one play out of three that I was really interested in. So on Friday evening we went to Students’ House of Culture to see “Backstage Scandal” (“Noises Off” in original). It’s a British play written by Michael Fray, and it won several awards in the early 80’s, one reason why I wanted to see it, but also because I was in the mood for a comedy. And comedy it was.

The play stared the actors of Maria Filotti Theater from Braila: Bujor Macrin, Mihaela Trofimov, Valentin Terente, Alin Florea, Catalina Nedelea, Liviu Pintileasa, Adrian Stefan, Corina Bors, Alexanda Poiana. A young cast with only one actor past his 30’s – quite a bit of eye candy which didn’t hurt – and I couldn’t help notice that over half of them have done their theatre studies in Iasi.

The script is phenomenal, there is no doubt about it. I recommend it to anyone in need of a good laugh. This particular production wasn’t too bad either. I dare say that whoever chose this particular play to put on stage with this cast and director bit a little more than they could chew. One reason more to congratulate the cast for their enthusiasm and courage to take on such difficult play. Sure, there was some shouting, some line could have had their potential better exploited, but their comedic timing was spot on, great entrances and exits.

In the beginning, I was grumbling because the audience wasn’t allowed inside the room before 7 PM sharp, the time when the play was announced to start. Of course, it took another twenty minutes for everyone to settle in after that, but there was a very good reason for the doors to be kept closed until the very last moment. You’ll have to watch the play to figure out why, but it was worth it.

So maybe it wasn’t a Tony award deserving performance, still it was entertaining as hell, and the last act it was almost non-stop laughter, even if the previous two were more solid from a plot point of view. In conclusion, it was one fine theater night, especially considering how cheap the tickets were.

Over the weekend, I watched the movie made after the play, staring Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, late Christopher Reeve and Marilu Henner. The movie had its good moments, like the backstage almost-pantomime during act two, but I couldn’t help feeling that some parts were miscast. And while it was okay, this needs to be seen on stage. I can’t stress it hard enough!

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