“Noises Off!” is the first play of the school year to hit the Oswego High School stage. The production features a play-within-a-play narrative that takes viewers behind the scenes of a doomed production.

The play-within-a-play concept that “Noises Off!” has is very interesting. Each cast member has an American character, and their British character in “Noises Off!” is an actor with a role in their disastrous production called “Nothing On.” The set has both the British characters’ set, and then the “backstage” set, where everything is falling apart for the American actors.

The play, according to senior Tristan Ramos, is a physical comedy. 

“There’s lots of falling and lots of slapstick,” Ramos said. Ramos’s American character Garry LeJeune plays the British Roger Tramplemain, who is involved in some of the physical humor. 

Part of the difficulty of making the show run smoothly is how the actors have to quickly switch from different characters with both American and British accents.

“The way that the show runs is, if you get one word kinda mixed up somewhere, then the entire thing is difficult,” junior Brayden Hardersen, who plays Frederick Fellowes, Philip Brent, and Sheikh, said.  

Even though they’ve practiced for a few months, it hasn’t been easy to get everything perfect for opening night. 

“Of course there’s stress that backs behind it, you know, when doing a production like this,” Sophomore Ethan Ong, who plays Selsdon Mowbray and Burglar, said while the cast members tested their microphones onstage.

Part of the difficulty has been the massive set that the crew built itself. 

“We built the whole set pretty much from scratch,” freshman Eleanor Engel, a member of the stage crew, said. 

The set is a massive house on one side, with a “backstage” on the other side. It showcases the “Nothing On” set with the house side, and then rotates to show the “Nothing On” backstage. The house is a stereotypical home, with a TV and pictures on the walls. The backstage, however, is not as built up, to showcase an accurate portrayal of behind the scenes at a show. 

The task of building the set also included making it rotate 180 degrees. 

The stage crew moves the mobile set into place in the center of the stage.
Stage crew rotates the set to get it in place for the upcoming scene. Credit: Annabelle Rivera, 42Fifty

“We put wheels on the bottom, and that just allows it to move freely, although it’s really heavy,” explained senior Alex Ponx, who works with senior Lane Craighead and junior Luke Urback in the shop.

More behind-the-scenes contributions included the costumes and lighting. 

“I give opinions based on what it is, and then we make sure everyone brings in the costumes, we order pieces that are missing, and then we also alter them to fit,” said freshman Jessica Taylor, an assistant in the costuming department, about the costume creation process. 

The crew is comprised entirely of students, which provides them with the opportunity to gain experience for doing tech in the real world.

Senior Jess Knutson works the lights for the play, along with various other productions. 

The light board, located at the back of the auditorium, being used to set up lighting ques during dress rehearsal.
Light board operator sets cues for the show during rehearsal. Credit: Annabelle Rivera, 42Fifty

“It’s a really good experience,” she said of working the lights. She also said that the lighting team makes all their own cues and just has to press a button to set them off. 

“It’s a super educational program,” junior Abby Jobgen, who plays Belinda Blair and Flavia Brent, said of working in the lighting crew. “We still are having people walk out, […] skip the college process and go straight to getting jobs.” 

“Noises Off!” runs in the OHS auditorium from Oct. 16-19, with an American Sign Language interpreted performance on Oct. 18. Student tickets are $5, and adult tickets are $10.

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