|Some of the cast members for the Actors Studio production of Noises Off pose for a picture, Bottom left, Troy Berg plays Garry/Roger. Top left, Shannon Moore, plays Brooke/Vicki, and Kim Fournier, right, plays Dotty/Mrs. Clackett.|
After all, they are being challenged to remember who they are in reality, who they are on stage No. 1 and who they are portraying on stage No. 2.
"It's actually funny to watch the other people trying to remember who they are doing next," said Shannon Moore, who takes the role of Brooke, an actress who is portraying Vicki in the upcoming Kelowna Actors Studio production of the Broadway hit.
At any given time, Moore has three people to keep straight in the uproariously funny comedy that also became a movie with Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, John Ritter and Christopher Reeve.
The side-splitting farce and epic scale comedy gives the audience a look behind the scenes as a cast of misfits tries to put on a play called Nothing On.
A play in which nothing is going well.
There are flubbed lines, missed cues and wardrobe malfunctions on stage, while even more antics are taking place off stage.
"If ever a comedy earned the right to be called 'epic,' this is it," said Randy Leslie, Artistic Managing Director of KAS.
"It's a director's worst nightmare, being stuck halfway through the show, at midnight before opening night, with backstage romances creating on-stage tension.
"We've wanted to do this one for years," he added.
"It's smart, requires an exceptional cast, and reaches a comedic high you can only experience in live theatre."
One of the highlight achievements of Noises Off is managing to create the revolving set required to properly stage the play.
With two complete and different sets, the revolving stage takes up the entirety of the actors studio existing stage, almost to the ceiling, and cost more than $18,000 to build.
"It actually should be listed as one of the main characters in the production," he said.
Moore, who comes back to the KAS stage after a brief hiatus, noted that because this is "a play within a play," there are a lot of crossovers and although the Nothing On play follows one track, the Noises Off play follows another.
"There are lots of twists and sub-plots, and it's easy to get mixed up. After our last 11-hour rehearsal, you start to feel as if you are being pulled in 12 different directions," she said.
"But being able to act with Kim (Fournier) and Troy (Berg) makes it all work," she added.
Berg takes on the character of Garry, a stuttering actor who is easily fired up and can't remember his lines, and also plays Roger.
"The play is quite challenging because it demands meticulous timing," Berg said.
"It's been terrifying because it's an intensely physical show. It takes a unique group of people to make this work. It takes a lot of energy and work to pull off a farce like this show."
"The whole thing starts to deteriorate as the two casts start to fumble lines, get mixed up and mess up on exists and entrances," Moore said.
Much of the comedy emerges from the subtle variations in each version, as off-stage chaos affects the on-stage performance, adding a great deal of slapstick.
Slamming doors, flying props, pratfalls and sardines, along with whiskey-swigging actors and axe chases make for a full-blown farce.
Done in three acts, act one introduces the audience to a play within a play, with the cast readying for opening night, with little hope of pulling it together.
Act two, switches the set around 180 degrees, and the audience is treated to the intrigue backstage after one month on the road with the 'show', and the general disorder in the company badly affecting the production.
Act three, sees the tour come to an end, with bored, bungling actors offering a bungled performance full of mishaps and high jinks, and ruined relationships.
"I think the audience will really enjoy this show," Moore said. "They should come with an open mind. There's sexual humor throughout the show.
It's a really good laugh, and ladies, you should probably wear waterproof mascara for this one or you'll have it running down your face!"
What: Noises Off, a comedy
presented by Kelowna Actors Studio
When: Feb. 6-23 with shows Wednesday to Sunday 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kelowna Actors Studio, 1379 Ellis St.
Tickets: Available as dinner and show option, or show only. KAS box office, KelownaActrosStudio.com or 250-862-2867.