Sardines and slamming doors herald the arrival of IU Theatre’s NOISES OFF!

Jan 25, 2016

Bloomington, Ind –  The fun begins at the end of February, when the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance will present Michael Frayn’s classic comedy, Noises Off, in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre. Called “a practically perfect stage piece” by Vincent Canby of The New York Times, the 1982 mega-hit ran for over four years in London before transferring to Broadway. Since then, a film adaptation and dozens of major revivals have cemented the play as a classic of the modern stage, in both Britain and the U.S.

Set in a British resort town – far from the lights of London’s West End – Noises Off is a play within a play, featuring a downtrodden troupe of actors performing a bedroom farce teasingly titled Nothing On. But in Frayn’s ingenious framing, the backstage becomes the real show, as the cast attempts to keep this sinking ship afloat by any means necessary. As they bustle about the backstage, intricate patterns of pratfalls, miscues, and mistaken identity abound with mounting hilarity.

“The second act is really a comedic mathematical puzzle,” says director Murray McGibbon, a longtime Professor of Acting and Directing at IU. “So, as a director, you don’t want to try to make your own statement with it. It’s really very close to a finely tuned ballet, where you have to stick to the choreography or everything falls apart.”

McGibbon’s Noises Off will be a faithfully British incarnation of the play. Working with MFA set designer Kevin Nelson – along with a cast of nine undergraduate and graduate students – McGibbon is attempting to invoke the culture that frames the absurdity of play with precision.

“There have been some productions that have experimented with setting it in the U.S., but I think the whole theatrical tradition in Britain is crucial to the comedy,” explains McGibbon. “Comedy is about context. And this context has a delicate specificity to it.”

WHAT: Noises Off, presented by IU Theatre

WHEN: Feb. 26 – Mar. 5, 2016

WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for senior citizens. 812.855.1103 or For group discounts contact Stacy Brown (

Rehearsal Photos:

(Photo credit: Joely Pope)


Tino Brokaw (Selsdon Mowbray) and Charley Tench (Poppy Norton-Taylor)


Matthew Murry (Garry Lejeune), Meaghan Deiter (Dotty Otley), Berklea Going (Brooke Ashton)


Caleb Curtis (Frederick Fellows), Lindsey Franxman (Belinda Blair)


Full cast of NOISES OFF


Matthew Murry (Garry Lejeune), Caleb Curtis (Frederick Fellows)