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University of Wisconsin-Marshfield / Wood County

Laugh out loud comedy ‘Noises Off’ comes alive

Date: April 16, 2012

MARSHFIELD – “Noises off,” one of the funniest comedies of our modern times, will hit the stage at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County, April 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. and April 29 at 2 p.m. in the Helen Connor Laird Theatre, UW-Marshfield/Wood County, 2000 West 5th Street, Marshfield.

“Noises Off” playwright Michael Frayn opened his show in London, England in 1982 and soon “jumped the pond” for a successful run in New York. Theatre groups around the world, including Campus Community Players, UW-Marshfield/Wood County’s theatre company, have staged this farce.

Local audiences might be familiar with the 1992 film version starring Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve and John Ritter. “The film version is wonderful—I mean it’s Carol Burnett—but there is nothing like live theatre for a production like this,” said Brad Schmicker, “Noises Off” director.

“Noises Off” uses the “play within a play” device to support its comedy. Act I finds a troupe of actors rehearsing for a play “Nothing On.”  Forgotten lines, misplaced props and a cast of peculiar players combine in comedic clashes. In Act II the troupe is on the road with the show and the audience watches from a backstage perspective. Personalities and personal encounters have deteriorated and the effects are now visible in the “Nothing On” performance. Now audiences will hear and see glimpses of the performance through the set which is now turned backwards. Act III finds the set turned around once again and we see the performance of “Nothing On” from the traditional perspective but after many tour performances.

This controlled chaos for comedic effect takes practice and timing from the cast and crew. “My line is, ‘It’s all about doors and sardines.’  It’s really all about timing,” said Greg Jackan, who plays Lloyd, the director.

Kathy Stamas, playing Dotty/Mrs. Clackett, the actor leader of the troupe, agrees, “Act II is a nightmare for those of us on stage. Most of the act is a pantomime that must be timed with dialogue from the play ‘Nothing On.’ If it can go wrong, it does go wrong. That’s farce, that’s comedy, that’s life,” she said.

Advanced tickets are $10, tickets at the door are $12 and high school student tickets are $5.  Tickets can be ordered by calling the Campus Box Office at 715-389-6534 or at Continuing Education at 715-389-6520. VISA, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.

This production is made possible with major support by the Laird Fund for the Arts.

For more information call 715-389-6530, visit or