Noises Off

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Noises Off is a 1982 play by English playwright Michael Frayn. The idea for it was born in 1970, when Frayn was standing in the wings watching a performance of Chinamen, a farce that he had written for Lynn Redgrave. According to the playwright, "It was funnier from behind than in front and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind."[1] The prototype, a short-lived one-act play entitled Exits, was written and performed in 1977. At the request of associate Michael Codron, Frayn expanded the play into what would become Noises Off.

Contents

Characters of Noises Off

  • Lloyd Dallas: The director of the play, Nothing On. Temperamental. One third of a Lloyd–Poppy–Brooke love triangle.
  • Dotty Otley: A late-middle-aged actress. Forgetful. Dating Garry, though she attempts to make him jealous by meeting with Fred.
  • Garry Lejeune: A stuttering actor, easily fired up, repeatedly tries to attack Fred after believing that Dotty was cheating on him with Fred. Speech affectations disappear onstage but are ever-present offstage. Always is stuttering and completing sentences with, "you know..." Dating Dotty.
  • Frederick Fellows: An actor with a serious fear of violence and blood. Gets nosebleeds easily. Often questions the meaning of his lines and moves. Blames himself often for things going wrong.
  • Belinda Blair: Cheerful and sensible, a reliable actress. She may have feelings for Fred.
  • Poppy Norton-Taylor: Assistant Stage Manager. Emotional and over-sensitive, and envious of Brooke, whom she understudies. Carrying Lloyd's child. One-third of a Lloyd-Poppy-Brooke love triangle.
  • Selsdon Mowbray: An elderly alcoholic man who hides his bottles onstage. If he is not in sight while rehearsing, the stage crew must find him before he passes out.
  • Timothy Allgood: An over-worked Stage Manager. Understudies Selsdon and Freddy.
  • Brooke Ashton: A young inexperienced actress from London. It is suggested she is a porn star. Pays no attention to other performers, neither in performance nor backstage. She rarely takes stage direction, and continues performing regardless of any other action onstage. Is always losing her contact lenses. One-third of a Lloyd–Poppy–Brooke love triangle.

Characters of Nothing On

  • Mrs. Clackett (Dotty): Housekeeper for the Brent's home in England. Hospitable, though slow.
  • Roger (Garry): Real estate agent that is attempting to rent Flavia and Phillip's home, but uses it for his own personal benefit.
  • Vicky (Brooke): Works for Inland Revenue and is trying to woo Roger.
  • Phillip Brent (Fred): Lives out of the country with his wife Flavia to avoid paying taxes. He enters the country knowing that if he is caught by Inland Revenue, he will lose most of the year's income.

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