All Student Theatre brings laughs to Brookings with ‘Noises Off’

| Senior Cadenza Editor

If you’ve passed through Brookings Quadrangle this past week, you probably noticed students rushing around the stage building a two-story set, camping out during the nights in a tent in the pit.

All Student Theatre (AST) is preparing for its 25th annual show “Noises Off” on Brookings Quad, and—evident by the two-story set being built—they’re pulling out all the stops.

“Noises Off” is a three-act British farce that shows what goes on behind the scenes of a brilliantly chaotic production. It’s a play within a play, which is both incredibly meta and incredibly complicated to pull off…Plus, they’re staging it outdoors.

IMG_9377Courtesy of All Student Theatre

Once AST moves on the set to Brookings two weeks before the production opens, they keep at least two people on the set 24/7. After they’re done rehearsing and building for the day, they have a tent set up in the pit for overnight shifts.

“The weather’s not always great; and sometimes it’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun to be out here with your best friends just hanging out on the quad,” AST president and senior Kendall Carroll said.

For the cast and crew members, staging the production outside is half the fun and rooted in tradition. It all started with “Richard III” in 1993, and AST has done a show on the Quad every April since then.

“Being out in the elements puts an interesting twist on everything, since most theatre work is usually done inside,” AST Swing and junior Shelby Karp said. “I think the fact that we’re outdoors puts a lot of restrictions and forces us to look at theatre from a new angle.”

IMG_9374Courtesy of All Student Theatre

Being outside also poses a technical challenge for building the “Noises Off” set. The show is traditionally staged using a turntable, but due to weather and resources, AST’s set designers decided to do a different stage configuration than usual to account for the two-sided stage. Also, they took on the challenge to build a two-story set under Carroll’s lead.

“It’s a two-story set, which hasn’t been done in AST history,” Carroll said. “I’ve been the master carpenter in some form or another for AST since freshman year. So, this is a really cool thing to go out on. This is an insane set and definitely one of the biggest I built; so, I’m really proud of it.”

“Noises Off” is a massive production in terms of not only set but also cast (26 members) and theme. For “Noises Off” Director senior Kate Biddle, the show comes together as one huge celebration of theatre.

IMG_9376Courtesy of All Student Theatre

“The play is really a celebration of theatre, and it invites the audience into the side of theatre that we all dwell in—that backstage rehearsal process that’s the bulk of the time we spend working on the production,” Biddle said. “The only thing the audience sees is the performance, but there’s so much more before and behind the performance that goes unremarked. The coolest thing about this show is the celebration of that world that we mostly live in and kind of the chaos and stress of it all, but that’s what makes the end product worth it.”

“Noises Off” is showing on Brookings stage April 12 through April 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets are being sold in the DUC from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this week for $5.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.