Doors And Sardines

Doors And Sardines

FSLT takes on ‘No. 1 farce of all time,’ ‘Noises Off’


“If we can just get through the play once tonight — for doors and sardines. That’s what it’s all about, doors and sardines. Getting on, getting off. Getting the sardines on, getting the sardines off. That’s farce. That’s … that’s the theater. That’s life.” — Director Lloyd Dallas in “Noises Off”


It’s safe to say that everyone cast in the Fort Smith Little Theatre production of “Noises Off” has a favorite quote. That’s because the script by Michael Frayn is overflowing with memorably funny lines — and they’re probably no less important than the hilarious physical comedy. In other words, if this is not a show you know, it’s one you should discover.

The premise is this: A fading star named Dotty Otley has invested her nest egg in a farce titled “Nothing On.” Our story opens in Des Moines on the night of the final dress rehearsal — which is going, shall we say, poorly. In the play within the play, Mrs. Clackett — played by Ms. Otley — is the housekeeper for Philip and Flavia Brent, a rich couple currently in Spain, hiding from British tax collectors. Then Roger Tramplemain, a junior real estate agent, arrives at the house for a romantic tryst with Vicki; the owners come home unexpectedly; a burglar breaks in, much to the surprise of his daughter; and the visiting sheik looks remarkably like the homeowner.

Confused yet? You’re supposed to be!

In Act II, the audience is transported behind the scenes as performances continue on the road. (Yes, FSLT will have a two-story set that revolves, which is vital to the production.) While “Nothing On” is performed to the imaginary audience out there, we’re backstage to see what’s going on with the cast — lovers’ quarrels, mischief undertaken in the name of those quarreling lovers, the efforts to keep one cast member sober, one from walking out — oh, and one is pregnant.

It only gets worse — and funnier — in Act III.

“I’m starting to know what God felt like when he sat out there in the darkness, creating the world. … Very pleased he’d taken his Valium.” — Lloyd Dallas

That’s director Summer Robinson’s favorite line. “The lines in this show are killer,” she says. “Act I and Act III are almost exactly the same, but the words are all out of order and different.” She’s loved the show since she saw it at a theater festival in college, she adds, and calls it “the No. 1 farce of all time.”

“The physical timing in this show is very important,” says Eric Wells, who plays Philip Brent, half of the couple hiding from Inland Revenue, and his actor alter-ego, Frederick Fellowes. “Otherwise, you fall behind and everyone gets lost.”

“Fortunately, the cast is mainly built up of seasoned actors,” says Garrett Young, who plays director Lloyd Dallas. “They give me so much to bounce off of/work with — meaning, I only have to react and scenes go well.”

“I hope the audiences walk away exhausted from all the laughing,” says Monica Longoria, who plays Dotty Otley and Mrs. Clackett. “There’s no serious meaning to ponder, just a good time to be had!”



‘Noises Off’

WHEN — Opening night gala, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9-10; 2 p.m. Nov. 11; again Nov. 14-17

WHERE — Fort Smith Little Theatre

COST — $27 opening night; $12 other performances

INFO — 783-2966, ext. 2

Categories: Theater