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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Joyful Noises?

click to enlarge noises2.jpg

Al Stilo, director of sales & marketing for Lawrenceville’s Aurora Theatre (and a reliably entertaining actor in his own right) sent me an e-mail about Aurora’s season finale, Michael Frayn's Noises Off, which the theater has extended through June 1. Al acknowledged that I tend to favor edgy theatrical fare, but said:

"Edginess is relative however, and I hope that I can tempt you to attend Noises Off by letting you know you will be attending the first production in Aurora Theatre history to feature the f-word. Doesn’t that seem worth the drive?"

Aurora is billing Noises Off as “the greatest farce ever written,” and while that’s a bold statement that encompasses centuries of theater history, I have trouble thinking of a farce that’s better constructed or more ingenious. Famed critic Frank Rich called and said that it "is, was, and probably always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime." Aurora’s cast includes Megan Hayes (pictured), Robert Egizio and Jeff McKerley, and the combination certainly sounds worth the drive.

Although Frayn is probably best known for Noises Off, two of my favorite Frayn works are a little more scholarly. His cerebral historical drama Copenhagen dramatizes a 1941 meeting with Danish physicist Niels Bohr and his German protege, Werner Heisenberg, and concerns Nazis, atom-smashing and the morality of science in war-time. One of my favorite recent novels is Headlong, Frayn’s hilarious account of a blocked writer who grows obsessed with the possibility that his neighbor unwittingly owns an undiscovered Brueghel painting worth a fortune. It’s the kind of thoughtful and funny book I feel confident recommending to practically anyone.

(Photo courtesy of Aurora Theatre)

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