FVS Theater ended its fall season over Family Weekend with the British comedy, “Present Laughter.”
The play by British playwright Noël Coward glances into the comings and goings within the home of middle-aged (but no so mild-mannered) famed, 1940s stage actor, Gary Essendine. As Gary prepares for a stressful sea voyage to Africa for his work, he finds lies, a tangled web of lovers and his own immeasurable egomania setting his social life aflame. With the help of his trusty house staff, Gary must navigate his way through crazily infatuated playwrights and actresses, without stomping all over his investors’ love lives.
In her 13th production at FVS, Theater director Hollie Marine chose a show that would stretch the limits of even the veteran actors.
“The kids took on a whole new genre [of comedy] that presented many challenges,” Marine says. “The jokes weren’t as in-your-face as most standard American comedies. The humor could lie in something as hidden as the pronunciation of a word. The kids had a long, uphill climb in order to successfully understand and create their own savage, comedic moments the way Noël Coward intended it.”
Since arriving in early August for fall pre-season, the actors have been tasked with mastering their aristocratic, refined English accents.
Marine added, “Learning the resonance and accents took a lot of hard work. Now they’re having trouble turning it back off and using their regular voices!”
This show didn’t come without hardships. A virus sneaked its way into the theater during Friday’s show and ravaged half the cast through the final performance on Saturday. This resulted in actors comforting each other backstage and powering through each scene with a nasty sickness in tow.
Aside from the phenomenal acting, the show was complete with a beautiful, two-story set exhibiting a 1940s London bachelor pad. Present Laughter opened Oct. 8-10 for Fall Family Weekend to sell-out audiences.