“Noised Off” Opens January 26, at CPAC

‘Noises Off’ opens Jan. 26 at CPAC

COOKEVILLE – Almost immediately, audience members will recognize they are watching a bad play – sort of.

“The setting is the rehearsal of a play called ‘Nothing On,’” said Steve Gwilt, director of the Cookeville Performing Arts Center’s Backstage Series production of “Noises Off,” which opens Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

“It has all the trappings of a true farce – a quaint country estate, doors slamming, people running in and out unaware that others are in the cottage, improbable situations, stereotyped characters, and on and offstage intrigue.”

This 1982 play-within-a-play by English playwright Michael Frayn features a myriad of characters with an array of relationships, “bawdy and otherwise,” Gwilt said, that creates a comedic atmosphere patrons will enjoy.

Additional performances are Jan. 27, 28, 30 and Feb. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m.

Backstage productions differ from traditional performances in that audience members are actually seated on the stage.

“They’re close to the performers and the action,” Gwilt said. “This allows them to witness details in actors’ deliveries, which assists in driving the emotion and action to enhance the theatrical experience.”

Gwilt said the stage is “a character unto itself” in this particular production.

“Although ‘Noises Off’ utilizes a rather large set, the Backstage staff has created a means of keeping the intimate backstage feel with a mainstage-style set,” he said.

Cast members include Eleni Fragopoulos as “Dotty Oatley,” Ryan Steele as “Lloyd Dallas,” Patrick Mannle as “Garry Lejeune,” Katie Mannle as “Brooke Ashton,” Holly Mills as “Poppy Norton-Taylor,” Jacob Roberts as “Frederick Fellowes,” Samantha Raper as “Belinda Blair,” Andrew Neal as “Tim Algood” and Evan Cole as “Selsdon Mowbray.”

“The cast is an experienced collective of theatrical personalities, lending nicely to this project,” Gwilt said.

“Noises Off,” produced by Cookeville Leisure Services’ cultural arts division through an arrangement with Samuel French Inc., is the second of three Backstage productions planned for the series’ 25th season at CPAC.

Tickets are available at www.cpactn.com and the CPAC Box Office, 10 E. Broad St. The cost is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students. For more information, call 931-528-1313.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Steve Gwilt, right, director of CPAC’s Backstage Series production of “Noises Off,” talks with Patrick Mannle on the set as they prepare for opening night, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.