* Purdue Theatre

March 27, 2007

Purdue Theatre to stage 'Noises Off' April 13-21

Scene from "Noises Off"
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Purdue Theatre will close its season with Michael Frayn's farce, "Noises Off," from April 13-21 in the Nancy T. Hansen Theatre located in the Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts.

Evening performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on April 13-14 and April 18-21. Matinee performances will be at 3 p.m. on April 14-15 and April 21. Richard Stockton Rand will direct this comedy that features five Purdue Theatre alumni and faculty guest artists.

"Noises Off" follows the progression of a British theater company and its third-rate production of "Nothing On." As personal relationships between the actors fester and disintegrate, the play begins to unravel at breakneck speed. Mishaps with slamming doors, falling pants and other slapstick antics create havoc on the set.

"In Michael Fray's gravity-defying farce within a farce, plates of sardines magically disappear, cactuses become deadly weapons, whiskey bottles catapult across the stage and actors' lives fall apart amidst the careening cacophony of backstage mayhem during a performance of a British sex farce," Rand said. "Farce, the most challenging of theatrical feats, reminds us that disorder lies just beneath the surface of our lives; that we're all juggling balls and spinning plates in a futile attempt to control the uncontrollable. Farce reminds us, too, that when everything falls apart and all is lost, sometimes we find ourselves."

Rand has acted in productions on and off Broadway; in regional theaters in the United States, Europe and Canada; and in film for public television. He has written and toured 12 one-person shows to 50 universities, theaters and festivals and received an Indiana Arts Commission-National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship for solo performance. In addition to his work as an actor, he has directed and/or choreographed more than 70 productions.

In celebration of 100 years of theater at Purdue, "Noises Off" will feature five professional guest artists that have links to Purdue - one professor emeritus and four alumni.

They include:

- Professor emeritus Dale Miller returns to Purdue after retiring in 2004 and directing "The College Widow" in 2006. He started as director of the theater department and served as chair various times through 1989. Miller has acted or directed in more than 200 productions during his career.

- Gerritt VanderMeer received a bachelor of arts degree from Purdue in 1997 and went on to receive a master's of fine arts from the University of California in Los Angeles. He has worked in television, film and regional theaters across the country. VanderMeer also played the title role in the traveling Broadway revival of "The Music Man."

- Deborah Kirby is the founder and producing artistic director of the Journeymen Theater Ensemble in Washington, D.C. As a professional actress, she has performed at numerous regional theaters across the country.

- Katherine Burke is a visiting instructor at Purdue, where she received her master's of fine arts in theater in 1999. She has appeared in many Purdue Theatre productions and directed "Urinetown: The Musical" earlier this season.

- Kristina Tollefson, who will be the costume designer for "Noises Off," is an associate professor and resident costume/makeup designer at the University of Central Florida. A few of her professional credits include the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Phoenix Theatre Indianapolis, Texas Shakespeare Festival and the Santa Fe Opera.

Writer: Christy Jones, (765) 494-1089,

Source: Peggy Felix, Purdue Theatre director of marketing and donor relations, (765) 494-3084,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Photographers are invited to take photos at a rehearsal at 7:30 p.m. April 9. Contact Peggy Felix, Purdue Theatre director of marketing and donor relations, (765) 494-3084,

PHOTO CAPTION: The characters in Purdue Theatre's production of "Noises Off" perform a comic high-wire act in search of a contact lens (from left: Deborah Kirby, Gerritt VanderMeer, Caley Milliken, Andrew Carlson, Stacey Hadgikosti and Katherine Burke). The play will run from April 13-21 in the Nancy T. Hansen Theatre. (Purdue photo/John Underwood)


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