UA Theatre and Dance performs Boeing BoeingBy Ellen Johnson | 04/15/2016 10:39pm
“Boeing Boeing” is a comedic play meant to entertain the audience, not teach them. CW | Hanna Curlette
“Farces are to entertain,” said Carolyn Howarth, director of UA Theatre and Dance’s production of “Boeing Boeing.” “They’re not to teach you anything or any big moral lesson. It’s not a play you’re going to go away with thinking deep philosophical thoughts. They’re meant to entertain.”
“Boeing Boeing,” running at the Marian Gallaway Theatre April 19 – 24, is one such farce. The cast, along with crew and guest director Howarth, has been working tirelessly to bring this comedy to the stage in the short rehearsal period of only three weeks. But despite the time crunch, Howarth is confident that the result of their efforts will be positive reactions from the audience.
“My hope is that people are entertained, that they have a good laugh or two, that they enjoy an evening out, and giggle while they’re walking out of the doors,” Howarth said.
The play, set in the 1960s, follows the story of bachelor Bernard, a Parisian architect who has three secret flight attendant fiancées who don’t know the others exist. The action of the romp begins when all three of the stewardesses are in town at the same time, thanks to the new Boeing jet engines that speed up air traffic.
Howarth, who works professionally and has directed productions at both Perseverance Theatre Company and Colorado Shakespeare Festival, has been pushing actors to bring their own flare to the production, giving them a taste of what it will be like in the professional theatre world.
“I love working with this director because she’s so organic,” said Naomi Prentice, a senior majoring in musical theatre who plays Gloria in the show. “She lets you do your own thing and you have claim to your ideas. Everyone in the show is really contributing a lot to it because we’re genuinely bringing our own thoughts and ideas to the process.”
This isn’t Howarth’s first experience with comedy. She does a lot of work in comedy in both acting and directing, and enjoys working on productions that audiences will find entertaining.
“I love laughter, and I love making people laugh whether I’m acting or directing,” Howarth said. “It’s just very satisfying to me when you can work on something and people enjoy themselves and laugh. I love that.”
Brianna Heller, a senior majoring in musical theatre who plays the character of Gretchen in the show, has been seen in other UA comedies such as “Lend Me A Tenor,” and has developed comedy as a skill since coming to college.
“Drama is easy but comedy is hard,” Heller said. “Comedy is something I never thought I could do, and doing it a couple times here has given me the confidence to be like, ‘Well maybe I am funny.’ The beauty of educational theatre is that you get to try things you didn’t think you were necessarily good at and turn them into a skill.”
“Boeing Boeing” will treat the audience to a lot of comedic action, said David Trump.
Trump, a first year graduate student studying theatre, plays the lead character of Bernard.
“I enjoy comedy because it keeps you on your feet,” Trump said. “You have to think about what happens next, and if it goes slow, the audience loses interest. There’s lots of choreography in terms of movements and fights and making sure they all happen when they are supposed to.”
Prentice is confident that this show will appeal to everyone and keep the audience laughing throughout.
“They are going to bust the seams of their clothes from laughing,” Prentice said. “It’s hilarious and it’s larger than life. It’s hyperbolic and the kind of thing you want to watch after having a hard day and you need relief.”
Tickets can be purchased at theatre.ua.edu, the box office at 205-348-3400 or at the door.