Watching a rehearsal of Noises Off is a mind-boggling experience. There are multiple directors, and all are yelling out completely different directions. Just how do the actors get it straight?
It's less than a week until Noises Off opens to the public, and while the confusion of multiple directors seems like it would hamper development - it's actually just the way real directors Dalton and Mary Hamilton would like it.
The production is about a British theatre troupe that finds itself with only two weeks to practice and rehearse a play before opening night and a 12-week tour. The performance begins on the troupe's opening night and follows them to the closing night of the tour.
Dalton says the act of performing a play that is about performing a play has caused some definite confusion during rehearsals.
"You start seeing art imitating life a lot," he says. "It's kind of freaky."
Mary agrees, adding that she has had a hard time explaining to some people what exactly they are doing.
"What we do is what they're doing," she says. "It is different and it's hard to explain to people."
The crew member who has struggled the most besides the director is the real-life stage director who has had to ignore requests to fix doors, Mary adds.
The actors themselves have had a hard time, as most have an onstage character and a backstage character - like 17-year-old David Popoff who plays Rodger/Gary.
"It's confusing. It's hard to wrap your mind around it," David says. "You have to know when to make the switch."
Noises Off is featuring all local actors: some familiar faces will be mixed in with newer performers.
"Some are fresh, so that's cool," says Mary.
One of those fresh actors is David, who is doing community theatre for the first time, however he has been involved in Mount Baker Senior Secondary plays.
"This is like a big jump for me, it's almost scary," David says.
Mary says they found many local actors that fit right into certain roles. They had to search for a few, but generally it wasn't hard to find talent. She says many talented actors applied, and the entire cast and crew is made up of well over 30 people. David says he was encouraged to audition by Mary, who is a drama teacher,
"It's been different," David said. "It's not what I expected - it's better than I expected. I'd definitely like to be part of another community theatre production."
The rehearsals began in September, with auditions locking down the performers in June.
"We've been at it awhile," Mary says.
Getting closer to showtime means more commitment for the cast and crew.
"At this stage of the game, it takes over your life," Dalton says. "It's been a rollercoaster ride."
To host the play, the Key City Theatre stage has been transformed into - well, a backstage. The massive, revolving installation features a two-storey set, and on the other side is the bare bones backstage, where the second act takes place. There, the antics and chaos of the actors will be seen.
While the characters in the play struggle with their lines and seem unready for their opening night, Mary says the real life performers are certainly ready to take the stage on January 19.
"It's going well," she says.
Left to go is the set decoration, final costume fittings and run throughs, and technical dress rehearsal.
Mary suggests the audience most fitted to the performance would be ages 13 and up. Through the three acts there will be two intermissions to allow the audience to stretch their legs.
"I think it has wide appeal," Mary says of Noises Off, adding tongue in cheek, "It's a safe bet that you're not gonna hate it."
The show will kick off on Thursday, January 19 starting at 7 p.m. continuing until January 21. Further performances will be held from January 26 to 28. The final performance on January 28 will be a matinee starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at the Key City Theatre, where the performances will be held.