Noises Off (2004)


The Palace Theatre
February 27, 28, 29, March 5, 6, 7, 2004

Ray Bookmeier, Director
Kevin Bookmeier, Technical Director
Sue Freet, Assistant Director

Sponsored by: Clingman Pharmacy

Noises Off opens with a touring company dress-rehearsing Nothing On. But on top of this conventional farce is layered another play as the actors interact off stage (but visible to the audience) in another delightful farce.

Lloyd Fellows is the director of a theatre company. He’s desperately trying to get his production together, despite the best efforts of the cast, the crew, and Lady Luck. The play follows the production from final rehearsals, through opening night, and onto the tour. As with any group of actors forced to work closely together for any length of time, romances and arguments are bound to break out. Quite often, what’s happening on stage is nothing compared to what’s happening backstage.

With breakneck pace and a rich gallery of characters, Michael Frayn’s brilliantly witty farce follows the on- and off-stage antics of a touring company as they stumble from dress rehearsal to disastrous last night of the play, Nothing On. Everything that can go wrong, does, as the cast desperately try to hang on to their lines, their performances and the furniture… resulting in a terrifying descent into chaos.

“As side-splitting a farce as I have ever seen…ever” – N.Y. Post

The Plot

In British theater terminology, “noises off” simply means “quiet on the set.” However, that’s far from the case when the performance of a traveling theater group is all but ruined when cheating, jealousy and confusion collide simultaneously behind the scenes of a second-rate British bedroom farce. The stage manager has his hands full working with a vengeful diva, a jealous leading man, an astigmatic ingénue, a besotted bit-player, a knocked-up assistant and a philandering director. ” Noises Off and “Nothing On” (the play within the play) intertwine as the actors are physically pushed to the limit, precisely timing their exits off of one stage onto another in this three-act play.

ACT I regular Cathi Calderwood appears as Dotty the sardine-loving, scatterbrained actress playing the sardine-loving, scatterbrained housekeeper. Cathi has been seen in The Book of Murder, Harvey, Oliver!, Romeo and Juliet, Life with Mother and Life with Father. Cathi is a Secretary at West Early Childhood Center and is wife to Will and mom to Ryan. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, horseback riding, singing and trips to Las Vegas.

Making his ACT I debut as Garry Lejeune – real estate agent and lothario is Mike Modrow. No stranger to theater, Mike’s previous experience with the Aleutian Chain Gang Theater has included roles in Love, Sex and the IRS, Ten Little Indians, and Dirty Work at the Crossroads. He was also in Bye, Bye, Birdie and Oliver! for Alburnett High School where he also worked on lights, set and sound crews. Mike lives in Shellsburg with wife Ruth and children Matthew, Christopher and Shawna. By day, he is the Information Systems Manager for D.C. Taylor Company and enjoys reading and computers.

Returning to our stage is also Patti Upmeyer as Brooke Ashton, the dizzy blonde, with the blank looks and overemphasized body language. ACT I patrons saw Patti’s talents in Steel Magnolias, The Night of January 16, Knock ‘Em Dead, and Twigs. She has numerous backstage credits with ACT I from 1993-1997. Patti is the mother of three children, Matt, Connie and Lauren. Her husband Eric is also an ACT I regular. When not working as Benton County Extension’s Office Assistant, Patti jogs, bicycles, reads and loves to spend time with her kids.

In his second ACT I appearance is Rob Glass, portraying Frederick Fellowes, a nervous walking disaster waiting to happen. Rob appeared on stage in It Runs in the Family and The Reluctant Dragon for ACT I and had numerous roles for Wartburg College and Fairfield High school productions including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Music Man, Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. Rob is Director of Choirs at Washington High School and enjoys guitar reading and running.

Laura Zamzow marks her first ACT I onstage appearance as Belinda, the ever-game trouper who tries to smooth over all the cracks. Laura’s most frequent appearances have been in the pit band for many theaters including ACT I’s Kiss Me Kate, and Reluctant Dragon, Luther College’s Carousel and shows for Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids and Washington High School in Vinton. This Washington High School Band Director lists her interests as reading “Lord of the Rings,” playing piano and sleeping – sometimes.

Marking his second show for ACT I is Mark Noe as Selsdon Mowbray, the aging inebriate thespian. Mark was seen as the apple seller in last summer’s Annie. Mark is a Process Operator at General Mills and enjoys boating with his family, wife Tara and children Noelle and Chandler.

ACT I regular Ryan Calderwood assumes the role of Tim, the stage manager. Ryan’s onstage credit includes Oliver!, Hansel and Gretel, Life with Father, Life with Mother, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Romeo and Juliet for ACT I and numerous shows for Theatre Cedar Rapids and Washington High School. Ryan is a Junior at Washington High School and enjoys computers, football and music.

Kathy Akers appears in her second ACT I show as Poppy – the assistant stage manager after her debut in The Book of Murder. Kathy is Executive Secretary of Vinton Unlimited and is married to Jeff and mom to Katie, Ben and Jennifer. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys cooking and baking, spending time with her family, golfing and being involved with bell choir and the singing group “Messenger” at her church.

CASTING CHANGE/UPDATE: Due to the sudden illness of a cast member, the role of Lloyd Dallas is being played by Matt Machula. A resident of Cedar Falls, Matt has been in a number of shows for the Waterloo Community Playhouse including playing the title role in The Elephant Man and Harold Hill in The Music Man and Rooster Cogburn in Annie. This is Matt’s third appearance in Noises Off. He has played both Garry and Frederick prior to his role as Lloyd.

Directing the show is Ray Bookmeier. Ray was Assistant Director/Stage Manager for The Secret Garden, Director for Life With Mother and Assistant Director for Life with Father. Onstage, Ray has appeared onstage in The Sound of Music, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Hansel and Gretel and The Foreigner. Ray is also involved in the Harmony Hawks Barbershop Chorus. Ray is a Custodian at Washington High School, is married to Barb and is dad to Kevin and Anita.

Assistant Director for her third ACT I show, Sue Freet is no stranger to directing or to community theater. Sue was the Drama Director for musicals at Marion High School including Grease, Snoopy, South Pacific, Cinderella and Bye, Bye, Birdie. Sue volunteered with the Waterloo Community Playhouse (WCP) where she stage managed several shows including Dracula, Fiddler on the Roof and Godspell. For WCP, Sue also served as production assistant and chaired costume, publicity, lights and sound crews on numerous shows. Sue is Human Resources Specialist at the Iowa Braille School.

Technical Director Kevin Bookmeier has the distinction of building the first two story revolving set at the Palace Theatre. Kevin served as a Director in Act I’s opening production in the Palace, I’ll be Home for Christmas. Kevin has created the sets for several ACT I productions including Life with Mother, Harvey and Romeo and Juliet. He has also served as Stage Manager, Set Designer, Lighting Designer, Board Member, Actor, Singer, Dancer, Running Crew member and poster designer, lending his talents in every conceivable way to 35 ACT I productions in ten years. Kevin works at Fareway in Vinton and at the Palace Theatre and is engaged to Michelle Sturtz with wedding bells ringing in November.

Assisting Kevin is Michelle Sturtz. She continues her string of tech and backstage work with this production. She has run lights for ACT I productions of My Fair Lady, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and most recently Annie. She was a “techie” at Wartburg college, Chanticleer Theater in Council Bluffs, and the Days of ’98 show in Alaska. Michelle is the gifted education coordinator for Benton Community Schools. When not teaching she torments the tech director with light booth horror stories.

Also assisting Kevin is Jay Appleby. Jay is employed by an area farmer and has backstage and construction experience both in high school and for ACT I. He is married to Kecia and dad to Kaylie.

Property Master for Noises Off is Ed Cardwell. Ed’s ACT I experience includes building the sets for Annie and Lost in Yonkers; set/shift crew and Stage Manager for Lost in Yonkers; and Property Master, set and shift crew for Kiss Me Kate, which Ed notes was also his onstage debut. Ed is Facilities Mechanic III at the Iowa Braille School. Ed and his wife Nancy owned “CC’s Place” in Mediapolis, which did dinner theaters, highlighting local community talent. Ed did everything from sets to sound to lights to shift to seating arrangements. Some of the more popular shows done by the group were Scrooge, HMS Pinafore and Greater Tuna.

Assisting Ed with props is another ACT I familiar face, Greg Walston. Greg was previously on stage in Charlotte’s Web, My Fair Lady and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Greg works for Non-Profit Services, helping schools and other organizations raise money.

Running lights and sound is Anita Yessak. Anita works at AEGON. Anita and husband Jason are the proud parents of Jordan and Marissa. Anita was active in theatre while in high school at WHS and has worked set construction for a number of Act I shows. Anita also ran lights for I’ll Be Home for Christmas and Life With Mother.

Ida Higgins is our Costume Designer and Seamstress. Ida has created costumes for numerous ACT I productions, including over 50 costumes for The Sound of Music, with 4 complete changes of clothes for each of the seven children. Ida is a life long Vintonian, and has been married to Morris for 32 years. They have four children. Ida is a Para Educator at the Iowa Braille School. Outside Vinton, Ida is best known as a TV9 weather spotter. She has been employed in this capacity for 21 years by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Make-up assistant Steve Arnold. Steve’s directing credits here include Romeo and Juliet, The Miracle Worker and Lost in Yonkers and has performed in Sleuth and My Fair Lady. Other acting credits include work with Theatre Cedar Rapids, Old Creamery Theatre.

In charge of publicity and programs are Lu Karr and Julie Zimmer.

Brenda Hackbarth is House Manager for Noises Off.


Noises Off / Nothing On

Dotty / Clackett – Cathi Calderwood
Lloyd / Director – Matt Machula*
Garry / Roger – Mike Modrow*
Brooke / Vickie – Patti Upmeyer
Poppy / Assistant Stage Manager – Kathy Akers
Frederick / Phillip – Rob Glass
Belinda / Flavia – Laura Zamzow
Tim / Stage Manager – Ryan Calderwood
Selsdon / Burglar – Mark Noe

*ACT I Debut