USAO Drama to Present 'Noises Off' July 15-18

Monday, July 26, 2004


A quirky, “reality” comedy highlights the summer schedule at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, as the drama department presents “Noises Off.”

The three-act play is scheduled for July 15-18 at USAO’s Davis Hall Theatre.

Admission to the play is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, and $3 for students. Performances are set for 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with a special 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

Written by Michael Frayn, “Noises Off” is the outrageously funny story of an English theatre troupe trying its best to put on one last successful production.

The story follows nine “cast members” as they jump from one hilarious scene to another.

“All the characters are speaking with English accents,” said director Marjory Velharticky-Anderson, who an adjunct drama professor at USAO.

“This play is not usually done this way, but I think it makes it more authentic. Our performers are doing an excellent job with some difficult dialog.”

The comedy opens as Dotty Otley, played by Julie Bohannon, who is the director of grants and proposals at USAO.

Otley has rounded up several of her old series TV friends to make just enough money to retire on, with a production of “Nothing On,” which becomes the play within the play. The play focuses around a two-story, rotating set built by Drummond.

“It all seems like a grand idea but, fortunately for the audience, her plan hits some funny snags,” said Roger Drummond, a professor of drama at USAO.

“Lines are missed, plates of sardines are lost and found, telephones and actors are misplaced, doors don’t work and general bedlam ensues, much to the delight of the audience.”

“Julie Bohannon is truly marvelous as Dotty Otley playing Mrs. Clackett, the housekeeper of Nothing On, which is the part that Carol Burnett made famous in the movie version,” Drummond said.

Time moves head six months in the second act, as the troupe begins a run of the show at the Theatre Royal in Aston-under-Lyne in England.

New loves and old jealousies have turned the show into a virtual war zone of laughter as the actors try to bravely perform their parts onstage amidst the mayhem and hilarity going on behind the scenes, Drummond said.

The scene in the third act has shifted to the Municipal Theatre in Stockton-on-Tees where the cast tries one last time to overcome their petty differences and prove that the show must go on.

Go on it does with the valiant and very comic efforts of the cast as they do their best to prove that there is No Business like Show Business.

“The cast is a remarkably talented blend of new and seasoned performers,” said Roger Drummond, a professor of drama at USAO.

Newcomers to the USAO stage are Garrett Shockey, Russell Bourn, Laura Rongey and Claudia Hamil, who is just delightful as Poppy, the long suffering assistant stage manager, Drummond said.

Shockey, a senior from Chickasha, plays the all-around handy man, technician, and stage manager and is also an understudy for several parts.

He does a great job as he keeps up with all of his various responsibilities both onstage and off, Drummond said.

Bourn, a junior from Henryetta, and Rongey, a freshman from Jenks, play Roger and Vickie who are trying to find a little afternoon romance but instead, it is the audience that gets the delight watching their performances.

Chris Davis, a sophomore from Marlow, and Dee Dee Beard, a freshman from Tulsa, playing a husband and wife pair of tax evaders who are tying to celebrate their anniversary by sneaking back to their country estate without telling the Inland Tax Revenue authorities.

Davis and Beard made appearances in the recent production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, while Davis also starred in USAO’s production of Charlie Brown.

Rounding out the cast is a young veteran Marcus Bilyeu, a sophomore from Chickasha (Art, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Copenhagen) who is quite remarkable as Lloyd, the indomitable director of the play within the play and Drummond, cast as the curmudgeonly old burglar who has a lot of fun trying to remember his lines.

Tonya Dymond, a freshman from Oilton, and Destiny McNabb, a junior from Oklahoma City, are the prop managers and assistants to the director. Erika Cerda, a junior from Norman, Shannan Osborn, a senior from Chickasha, and Felicia Griffin, a senior from Norman, will be in the control booth.

Costumes were designed and built by USAO’s Marcia Vliet. Meanwhile, Cynthia Vliet assisted Drummond in building and painting the set.