To understand Noises Off it helps to know Murphy’s Law and O’Toole’s Commentary on Murphy’s Law aka O’Toole’s Corollary. Murphy’s Law says if anything can go wrong, it will. O’Toole’s Corollary says Murphy was an optimist. And if the purpose of theater is to hold a mirror up to ourselves so we can see clearly who and what we are then Noises Off tells us we are all doomed.
Maestro Carthy will conduct the Reno Chamber Orchestra on Saturday and Sunday, January 25th and 26th. He was born in England in 1957 and studied music there. In 1981 he won an Austrian government scholarship to study at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg. After he finished his studies he was appointed Kapellmeister at the Landestheater in Salzburg. He has worked with such famous conductors as Daniel Barenboim and Sir George Solti. He has been a music director of the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland and is currently a professor of music and opera at the University of Colorado and is a visiting tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England.
Agatha Christie made murder respectable. She took it out of the back alley and put it into the parlor where it belongs. Okay, so in this outstanding whodunit she put it into the parlor car and the sleeping coach. Who indeed killed Samuel Ratchett, a villain most foul, with eight stab wounds? Doesn’t this seem like overkill—literally? Ratchett is really sleazebag Bruno Cassetti who murdered the 5-year-old American heiress Daisy Armstrong. With a trainful of suspects, 8 of them, each with an alibi, only famed detective Hercule Poirot, who appears in 33 of Christie’s novels, has the chops to figure it out.
Doctor X is a certifiable, industrial-strength nogoodnik making Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi look like Mary Poppins. She sees her face like a squirming bowl of worms. I have no idea what that means. Okay, let’s take it to mean that she does not see herself as a good looking gal. The love of her life (the nurse) has a face like a china plate. Maybe that means she has a face like a beautiful piece of Wedgewood china, like a creamy white cameo against a field of pale, delicate blue. Okay, that makes sense. Let’s go with that one, too.
The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future leads us through a futile attempt to redeem intensely practical Scrooge. Of course, it doesn’t work. She (the Ghost) is a hopeless underachiever. She transports us from time to time and place to place and invariably ends up somewhere other than her intended destination. But Scrooge is irredeemable. He hates Christmas. Durang divides Mrs. Cratchit into two, a nice Mrs. Cratchit married to Bob Cratchit and a nasty Mrs. Cratchit who keeps trying to kill herself by jumping off London Bridge. Scrooge, bah humbugging his way through the play, falls in love with nasty Mrs. Cratchit. Who woulda thunk? But, it seems like a perfect match.
The Reno Chamber Orchestra’s third finalist for Music Director is Maestro Martin Majkut talks to Norm Robins about the history of Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia) and growing up in a country going through turbulent times. The Maestro also tells us of what we will be hearing this weekend as he takes the baton for The Reno Chamber Orchestra.
This play is an ensemble piece, a fast-paced tragedy and comedy that will leave you touched by the humanity of it all and laughing uproariously at its comedy. But it is different from ordinary plays. Ordinarily, a play lays some groundwork by showing us the characters and the situation. Then the playwright builds some tension and some conflict. In the denouement at the end the conflicts and tensions are resolved, and all the loose ends are tied up. The play has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Elwood P. Dowd is certifiably insane but not by happenstance. He is that way by choice. It’s the only way he can cope with an insane world. Sane people act insane in an insane world. Dowd did that for 40 years but gave it up for a sane world of his own creation. As he tells us, “…I wrestled with reality for forty years, and I am happy to state that I finally won out over it.” And in Dowd’s reality one must be “…so smart…or so pleasant. For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” He is the most pleasant person imaginable.
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