comedy

Clue Remake?


Miss Scarlet, Col Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Wadsworth, Prof Plum, Mrs. Peacock

I was watching Clue for the 239th time last night when I started thinking how truly awful it would be if it someone were to remake it.

It’s not just that Hollywood can’t be trusted to refashion a classic comedy like this without dumbing it up with a bunch of hot-bodied, unfunny 24 year olds recently spewed from the Disney Machine. There’s also the fact that the actors who played the roles in the original created such completely iconic characters that seeing anyone else play these parts would leave audiences (read: me)  feeling like something was missing.

I mean– Harrison Ford’s not the greatest actor of all time, but when somebody else gets chosen to play Han Solo in a remake of the original Star Wars trilogy there’ll be mutiny! Actually, I think a remake alone would cause riots…

I fear the announcement of a Clue remake is only a matter of time, however. Particularly as the 25th anniversary of the original December 13, 1985 release date nears. (And yes, I will be throwing a Clue party. Start working on your costumes now, folks.) If/when the (inevitable/horrifying) remake announcement is finally made, who would you want to see cast in each of the parts, and who would you want to see direct?

Better yet…

The classic comedy Clue is being remade and it’s your job to cast the movie and pick the director!

When did you get so cool?

THE RULES

  1. Every character must be assigned an actor to play that part (see below for a full list).
  2. All potential actors and directors must be living and feasibly usable (ie. No tapping Roman Polanski to helm the project).
  3. No casting from Gossip Girl or its ilk. (If you have to ask if a particular show/movie qualifies as being Gossip Girl-y: It qualifies.)
  4. Megan Fox is out, out, out.
  5. So are Christina Applegate, James Marsden, and Matthew McConaughey.
  6. If your chosen cast is deemed too attractive you will be forced to make a trade. (Ex. If Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Pitt, and Tyrese Gibson are all in your cast: It’s time to make some trades.)
  7. If the comedic skill of your chosen cast is deemed questionable, you will be forced to make a trade. (Ex. If Lindsay Lohan, Steven Seagal, and Nicholas Cage are all in your cast: It’s time to make some trades.)
  8. It is not necessary to select additional personnel (Executive Producers, Cinematographers, etc.) for the movie. It is, however, allowed (Jennifer Champagne).

THE CHARACTERS (Original Actors, Age during filming)

For extra credit you can cast solely from people you follow on Twitter, fave YouTubers, coworkers, local actors, or varieties of cheese. (Beers and breads of all densities are also welcome.)

Now get casting!

ETA: Getting some terrific responses– you guys rock at this! Just wanted to post a link to oceandoot on LiveJournal who fleshed out his response with pictures and quotes.

“The best audience is intelligent, well-educated, and a little drunk.”


“The best audience is intelligent, well-educated, and a little drunk.”
Alvin Barkley

Opening weekend of Noises Off is officially over and now the worry can set in. Review worry, that is. If you are prepared for an entry devoted entirely to typical actor neuroses, read on. If not, may I recommend this page as a fun alternative? All right– on with the show…

The thing about reviews is that they’re written by one person. You’re getting one person’s opinion and even if it’s an educated opinion from a person who genuinely knows what they’re talking about and who you may’ve agreed with in previous theatre considerations, you can’t ignore the fact that it is still, ultimately and always, One Person’s Opinion of One Performance of the production in question. That said, the only time you really want to dismiss this Singluar Opinion is when it’s bad, or merely mediocre. Figures, right? So there’s:

You thought our production was only “all right”? *feh* Your review is only all right. How d’y’like that? Yeah? Yeah? Yeah, that’s right. Your review is only all right… Yeah.

vs.

You thought our performances were a riot and loved our work? Cleeeeearly you are above average in all respects and your review is Gospel!

And it happens that way every time. Without fail. Do you or don’t you trust the review? It all depends. All depends and never matters.

*hee hee hee*

*hee hee hee*

The other thing you’ve got to sit and chew on for a while ’til the review actually comes out is: What performance did the reviewer see? Was it Friday evening when the laughter flowed freely from a crowd eager to leave the work week behind them? Was it Saturday night when the audience applauded individual bits as well as act breaks? Was it Sunday afternoon when entrances were missed, lines were dropped, props were mishandled and– and so forth?

It’s maddening not knowing. It really is. And only slightly less maddening is the fact that the performance that was taped for the theatre’s records of this particular production was this afternoon’s performance in which everything that could go wrong did. I mean– that’s unfortunate, right?

And then there’s the focus of the review. Will it concentrate on those bits you feel are the show’s strongest selling points? Or will the reviewer become so hung up on a costume choice they didn’t agree with that a pair of socks or a necktie will end up getting more mention in the review than the acting or the directing? Will all but one actor get mentioned, leaving them feeling absurd and forgotten? Will the entire review take no more than a paragraph because the writer was so uninterested in your work that they couldn’t come up with anything more to say?!

Or will the review be a book report? You know the type: 90% synopsis, 5% “what, where, when, how much,” and 5% actual review. Because come on: What the heck is even the point in writing something like that?

Luckily the audience feedback has been truly exciting this weekend so the review that actually matters regardless of all the above conditions- the audience’s review- has been a very happy one to receive. It’d still be a drag to get a mention in the local whatever and have it be poor when I really think there’s some wonderfully funny work going on in this production, but the things audience members are saying so far are just– well gosh. Gosh gosh gosh. I mean it really is just such an uplifting and fulfilling feeling to put in so much hard work, so much time, so much creativity and energy and everything, and have it met with this kind of laughter and positivity. It’s fabulous. Makes you want to not do anything else with your life but this.

Hot Toddy

Two, please...

Except for the fact that “this” happens to be so exceptionally draining that all you want to do after the curtain call is whip off your shoes, strip down to baggy shorts and an enormous, ill-fitting tee, and down as much of a hot toddy as you possibly can between the kitchen and BED.

I don’t know how people can run this show for any longer than the four weekends we’re running it; it’s exhausting. All that up and down on one flight of stairs after another in suits and ties, corsets and heels— Egad! Even just our three remaining weekends have got me wondering how we’ll manage. Especially as roughed up as we are. Never in my life have I worked on a show that’s provided opportunities for quite so many injuries as this one has. I wish I had a picture of my latest addition. It’s rather a beauty, really. A 1″ wide by 3″ high scraped bruise on my right bicep. Watch for it this weekend if you stop out. Made it all by myself with a piece of arm and a bit of door frame.

There’s not a one of us that doesn’t have a scratch or a scrape somewhere, and some of the injuries sustained are definitely more major than others, but the average Wound Roster for each of us includes a body full of oddly shaped bruises of indeterminate origin; bright red scrapes from running aground of backstage corners; scuffs and splinters from brutal railings; and flaps of angry skin hanging precariously from knees, shins, fingers, feet, and elbows as reminders that doors and door frames, windows and window frames, buckets, mops, plates, mallets, and staircases are not items to be trusted nor trifled with. Ever.

It’s nearly midnight and I begin fulfilling my meager addition to the department-wide mandatory overtime at work tomorrow. Best head off to bed and save these worries for daylight. Nighty night, all, and may your neuroses not be as ridiculous as these.

************

ETA: The first review- the only review?- is in, and it’s a good one. Very solid, very positive. Keyed in on a few folks whose work I am so happy to see recognized in print. (Extra big hoorays for my buddy Matthew who is super awesomely funny in this show!! :D)

From “Noises Off Delves Behind the Scenes” from the Waukesha Freeman

Director Mark Salentine bravely took on this challenging play but was greatly aided by a very talented, competent cast, which made the difficult look relatively easy. Matt Patten, the consummate comic actor, led the way with his singular antics as Garry Lejuene. Randall Anderson was quite engaging as the insecure hemophiliac Frederick, and David Kaye as the stagehand who filled in for any missing person was quite funny with his deadpan style. I liked the way Cindy Zauner, always reliable in any role, played the dumb housekeeper Dotty Otley, too.

The other competent actors included Nathan Berish, who played Lloyd, the harried director; Ruth Arnell, always good at the dumb blonde roles; Jenny Kosek, who’s convincing as the overwhelmed stage manager; Belinda Blair, who tries to keep everyone happy and focused, an impossible task; and the well-meaning Robert A. Zimmerman as the unreliable burglar.

Kind of hoping there’s another review in the works so there’s an additional outside written opinion that paints the rest of us as perhaps a bit more than “competent.” Yikes! If anything else does come around I’ll post a link here, but until then… um… Yeah I got nothin’.

************

ETA: Review Numero Dos, From “Noises Off! at the Sunset Playhouse is great summer fluff” from Vital Source Magazine

This exuberant and fast paced farce requires the ablest of actor bodies for as it is intense physical comedy, along with synchronized timing to complete in rapid succession while appearing effortless. Each member of the cast successfully provides this, including the lanky Matthew J. Patten (Garry Lejeune), who falls down a flight of stairs and integrates a most appealing hand dialogue with coordinating dialect into his role. Ruth Arnell (Brooke Ashton) pertly gives her character, both the ‘on’ and ‘off’ stage persona, a delightful pout. The returning Sarah Laak Hughes (Belinda Blair) remains a charming addition while Nathan Berish (Lloyd Dallas) directs this entire on stage house of fun with proper British arrogance. The production indeed takes an entire team effort to perform this complicated play, and does so with a confidence that deserves applause.

Yay! Pretty nice, huh? Yeah, I thought so too. :)

Barack Him Right: A Dream


Birds singing in the Joshua trees/ Dream a little dream of me…

Had a visit from the Weird-Dreams-About-the-President Fairy last night, and unless I’m forgetting some random presidential visit in a previous snooze, this may very well have been my first of such visits.

In my dream there were all these reporters giving Barack Obama a hard time for not being in touch enough with his African roots. I remember being a little annoyed at what they were saying because– well: who really cares? It’s the fact that an American president is an American that’s supposed to be the preliminary- and final- deal clincher, right? But there they all are pushing and pushing and egging the guy on, saying he couldn’t survive in the African wilderness and daring him to try. As though it mattered, folks. As though it mattered.

Barack Obama SwimmingFinally, when he’s just had it with this crowd of noise and know-it-alls, he tells everyone he’s going to spend a week living out in the bush with a tribe of hunter gatherers in Africa. Just to prove them wrong. Just to get these people off his back. Just to make this dream weirder.

The crowd is glibly pleased.

Fast forward to a few months later when the crowd is sending back footage from the bush of a loin-clothed Barack flipping off the cameras as he dives into a rushing river accompanied by a dozen or so other men from this tribe he’s joined as they head off to hunt away from the bleating of the confused “journalists.”

This is the last we ever see or hear from the man again.

So I guess the moral of the story is… Don’t push people towards things you’re not willing to lose them to? Man cannot resist the call of the wild? Mother nature trumps a life in politics? Loin cloths are comfier for day wear than suits?

Noises Off Preview

Preview for Noises Off went well last night. I have to say I was genuinely surprised at the low turn out. Previews tend to sell fairly well at Sunset, particularly for more well known shows. And what with tickets being half price and the large number of people everyone in the cast said they’d been told would be there last night– well yeah. Genuinely surprised.

Nice, though, to have an evening to sort of ease into it all. It’s an exhausting show! We’ll see how it all differs this evening given that it’s Opening Night and it’s a Friday, and Friday houses are consistently the best houses. Perhaps on account of everyone being so happy to be done with work for the week that they sit there actively wanting to enjoy themselves?

I think they’ll enjoy themselves. I really do. This one’s a funny one, folks. C’mon out– enjoy yourselves. :)

“I got a river of life flowin’ outta me…”


We had our first dress rehearsal for Noises Off tonight, right? And everything’s going pretty great so far, right?

So we’re about 4 minutes into Act III, and I’m supposed to go through a door and catch a prop as it’s thrown in after me. The space I enter after going through this door is only large enough to allow the door into it to open to a 90 degree angle, and then immediately to your left there are two large set braces, directly in front of you there are the bottom four steps of a curving stair case, and to the right is a cubby hole with a four foot high ceiling.

Not exactly the most accommodating spot on set, but at least it’s not 20′ off the ground like other parts of the set so generally I don’t much mind it.

Or at least– I didn’t mind it.

So there I am. I’ve run through this door, bent over in the small space so I could tuck my rear end into the cubby hole, and brought my arms up tightly to my body so I can thrust my hands forward at just the right moment to catch the prop about to be thrown my way. I see the prop, I see it’s about to be thrown, I lift my right hand up and out AND CATCH MY FINGERTIP ON MY RIGHT NOSTRIL WITH SO MUCH SPEED AND FORCE THAT I TEAR OPEN THE INSIDE CAUSING AN IMMEDIATE GUSHING OF BLOOD.

Re-enactment. May not have actually occurred to this degree.

**Artist's rendering. Actual injuries sustained during rehearsal may or may not have been this severe...**

There is a lengthy pause.

“Is everyone all right back there?” questioned the director.

“Oh… f*@#…,” I explained, as I begin catching the blood in my hand.

I leaned forward to keep from getting blood on my costume and squeezed my way past the wooden stage brace, only to find that in the past 7 seconds my hand had literally filled with blood and my nose was still streaming merrily away.

Enter: Sarah Laak Hughes, to the rescue.

Now the funny thing about it being Sarah who came to help out- before anyone else even realized anything was wrong- is that this is exactly the same thing her character does, and for the exact same reason, in this show.

The equally funny thing, though perhaps painfully so in this case, is that my character in the show is probably the most likely to accidentally give herself a bloody nose while “acting.”

It’s about the most unfortunate case of type casting I’ve ever been a part of. May I live it down in peace. *cross cross cross*

So there I am heading for the scene shop sink to let myself bleed out, only to get there and find it filled with painting supplies waiting to be washed. I like Sunset’s Technical Director and have no desire to bleed on his paint trays, so it was fortunate that Sarah arrived at just that moment to hand me an enormous wad of paper towels, which I promptly bled straight through, while she cleaned off my bloody hand like the champ she is.

My God it was disgusting.

Then came wad number two of paper towels, followed by our director, Mark Salentine, to whom I proceeded to explain that I had not actually been hit in the face with the thrown prop, as was the current suspicion on stage, but that I had in fact bloodied my nose my own damned self. I couldn’t tell you which of us was laughing more loudly at this, except that his was probably the clearer laugh as mine was still muffled by a face full of bright red towels.

After being given a kitchen towel filled with ice cubes, onto which I promptly bled a perfect rectangle as I sought to ease the burning sensation, I thought: Yes! At last! I’m ready to go on! But wait– I’m now standing up straight and– what’s this in my throat? Why am I suddenly unable to speak?

Oh of course. My uvula is playing tether ball with a blood clot the size of a jelly bean and I’ve no sink into which to… to… you know…

That poor under-sink trash can. Never saw me coming.

So there you go. An evening of creation, of art, of design, literature, friendship, and self discovery, in which I learned for good and for always that I was not built for street fights, my friends. I wasn’t even built to meet the dominant kickball team by the playground after school. And now here I sit, none too worse for the wear, but infinitely the wiser as I realize the only thing I have to fear is finger itself, and that I truly am my own worst enemy.

“Noises Off” at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove


NOISES OFF opens this Friday, May 29, 2009 at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove, WI!

"Noises Off!" Read Thru at Sunset Playhouse

"Noises Off!" Read Thru at Sunset Playhouse

Michael Frayn’s Noises Off, widely regarded as the granddaddy of all farce comedy, follows a troupe of British actors as they put on a touring production of the fictitious sex farce Nothing On. Act I, seen from the front of the stage, features the gang struggling through their final dress rehearsal before opening night as one thing after another goes mildly awry. The true comedy, however, begins in Act II, seen from back stage, when the gloves must come off as the show must go on amidst feuding actors, jealous love triangles, and the agony of being forced to rely on the unreliable. Act III, seen once again from the front of the stage, continues the mayhem and hilarity when all-things-bad become all-things-worse as the production gives Coarse Acting a run for its money.

This has been a delightful show to work on– from the week+ of auditions and callbacks, to the Saturday morning dialect sessions, to the Saturday afternoon pizza bribery, to the all day tech rehearsals. I attribute this in great part not only to the fact that it really is just a fantastically fun and funny script, but also to the tremendous asset this production enjoys in being put together by a group of folks who work so well as a team. A truly enjoyable experience through and through.

An added bonus for me personally is that through this show I got to work with a few folks I haven’t worked with in a while- Mark Salentine (director), Amy Macali (Stage Manager), and Cindy Zauner (Dotty Otley/ Mrs. Clacket)– as well as a few folks I love working with and with whom I’ve shared the stage fairly recently- Jenny Kosek (Poppy Norton-Taylor), Matthew J. Patten (Gary Lejeune/Roger Tramplemain), and Randall T. Anderson (Frederick Fellowes/ Philip Brent). Got to work with some new faces in this one, too, which has been a lot of fun given that they’re such cool folks- Jennifer Allen (Stage Manager), Sarah Laak Hughes (Belinda Blair/ Flavia Brent), Bob Zimmerman (Selsdon Mowbray/ Burglar), David Kaye (Tim Allgood), and Nathan Berish (Lloyd Dallas).

If you’re looking for a fun night out I cannot recommend this show highly enough! It really is a great, laugh-out-loud comedy, and with 19 performances (including Preview) there is sure to be a showing that fits your schedule. Sunset also features great discount options on tickets (details below) making it that much easier to head on over.

Here’s the full scoop, featuring info from the Sunset Playhouse website:

Noises Off SunsetNOISES OFF!
A side-splitting farce by Michael Frayn
May 29-31, June 4-7, 11-14, 18-20, 2009

“Called the funniest farce ever written, Noises Off returned to Broadway in the 2002 season and sent reviewers searching for new accolades. This extremely popular play-within-a- play by Tony Award-winner Frayn has the same act of a fictitious play performed at different times in different theatres, showing the onstage and backstage antics at ever growing levels of madness. “As side-splitting a farce as I have seen. Ever? Ever.” – New York Magazine (Samuel French, Inc.)”

Days and Times:
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturday, May 30 at 8:00pm only
Saturdays at 5:00pm & 8:00pm
Sunday, May 31 at 2:00pm & 7:00pm
Sunday, June 7 at 2:00pm
Sunday, June 14 at 2:00pm

There is also a preview performance on Thursday, May 28th at 7:30 pm. Tickets for this performance are $9 (cash only) for General Admission seating and are available one hour before curtain on a first-come basis. This preview performance tends to sell out very quickly so if you plan on attending I would strongly encourage you to arrive early to ensure you’re able to get a seat.

Tickets: $18, $16 for seniors, $10 for students, plus $10 Rush Tickets available one hour prior to each performance. A $2.50 per ticket processing fee applies for tickets ordered online. Tickets are available online until two days before the performance. After that, please call the box office at 262.782.4430.

Hope to see you there!

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