WATSON -- In their most recent production, gifted and talented theatre students from Live Oak High showed audiences just how crazy things can get backstage during rehearsals — and during the actual show.
A cast and crew of 18 students took audiences on a two-night ride full of laughs when they presented multiple showings of Don Zolidis’ comical “Nooses Off” March 15-16.
“Nooses Off” is comprised of two acts and follows an amateur theater company rehearsing and performing a whodunit play.
As Live Oak’s talented theater teacher Abby Moonshower said, the play is actually “a spoof of a spoof” — it is based on Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off,” which is based on Agatha Christie’s popular whodunit novel “And Then There Were None.”
The first act shows the company in one of its final rehearsals before the big show, where the play’s director (played by Abigail Ramos) and playwright (Cassie Bondi) have a difficult time getting their actors to follow the script.
The second act shows the company’s backstage interactions during opening night, which doesn’t exactly go as planned as everybody’s personal objectives take hold — to comical effect.
Jake (Dylan Armstrong) is an aspiring actor who’d rather catch his big break than see the play succeed; Martha (Kara Gary) knows the play so well she can’t help but recite all the lines, hers and everyone else’s; Kaylie and Arnold’s (Truly Moonshower and Cade Perkins, respectively) loving relationship reaches a bitter end, as well as Taylor and Steve’s (Chanler Landon and Blake Schubert, respectively), leading to one or two more showmances.
Some of the other colorful characters include a costume designer seeking revenge (Emma DeLee), an actress trying to shed the “Barbie doll” stereotype (Alaina Griffin), a rowdy cowboy-wannabe from Texas (Jackson Pemberton), and a stage manager who’d rather munch on potato chips than get her actors in line (Abigail Whitam).
Total chaos ensues in the second act, when everything that can go wrong with the production, does go wrong. Fighting erupts between the actors backstage, the playwright fumes at the director and actors for ruining her play, one suitcase must play the roll of nine, and the crew spends the final part of the show on Tinder.
Sound confusing? That’s part of the appeal of “Nooses Off,” said Moonshower, who added that the disorderly nature of the play allowed her students to take greater ownership over their parts.
“I wanted to have them do some blocking, but you really have to kind of let them take over in this type of play,” she said. “If we would’ve tried to plan it out all, it would’ve looked stiff and a little put on, but giving them more freedom gave it a more natural feel.”