“Noises Off” Director Q&A

by Greg Leaming

What attracted you to come to the CBT to direct?

I always enjoy working with a combination of professional actors and graduate students – it’s a very invigorating process. It’s particularly interesting for me here, since Cal MacLean and I were in graduate school together and have stayed in close touch since then.  It’s nice to reconnect by working in this lovely theatre. Finally, with family in the Knoxville region, it’s very much like coming home for me here.

What makes this show such a long term success?

Michael Frayn is a real man of the theatre. He has such a love of actors and a love for the stage, so the characters in this play are delightful – vain, ego-driven, charming and innocent all at once. At the same time, Frayn also knows farce – he knows the kind of pleasure people derive from split second timing, from the kind of door slamming farce that occurs in the play and even in the play within the play. The play that these actors are rehearsing, NOTHING ON, is very very cheesy, but it’s also real silly fun!  And farce, even a mediocre farce, is one of the great forms of comedy. It hasn’t gone out of style for nearly 3,000 years!

Are you planning any surprises that may be different for those who have already seen the show?

If we do it right, one of the great surprises in this play for everyone, whether they’ve seen it or not, will be just how much can go wrong backstage – and onstage!