A madcap romp jet-fueled with the elements of classic farce will take off on the John Chalberg stage of Central Lakes College when Brainerd Community Theatre presents "Boeing, Boeing."
The play opens 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and continues with 7:30 p.m. performances March 1, 5, 6 and 7 and a 2 p.m. matinee March 2.
The play was written by French playwright Marc Camoletti, with an English adaptation translated by Beverly Cross. This version was first staged in London in 1962 and ran for seven years. In 1992 the play was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the most performed French play throughout the world.
In 2007, the play was revived in London's West End with a cast including Frances de la Tour and Mark Rylance. The production moved to Broadway in 2008 with Rylance, Christine Baranski and Bradley Whitford. This revival was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning as best revival of a play and a best leading actor in a play for Rylance.
The Brainerd Community Theatre production is directed by Beth Selinger, well known to area audiences for her acting and her directing at BCT, Pequot Lakes Community Theater, Great River Arts in Little Falls and at Cream of the Crop Theatre, a company she and her husband Dan founded that has since ceased operations.
Interview with director
Selinger was interviewed by BCT Director Patrick Spradlin about the play and the production.
Spradlin: Can you briefly describe what the play is about?
Selinger: It's the 1960s and American architect Bernard is living in Paris in his beautiful flat,
with its beautiful view and a perfect life that is filled with his three gorgeous stewardesses, all
who are engaged to him simultaneously. Because these lovely ladies all work for different
airlines, their schedules vary so that Bernard can keep all three from ever finding out about each
other. That is, until all three are reassigned to the new extra speedy Boeing jets.
"Life as our swinging bachelor knows it changes up completely when an old friend from
Wisconsin is added into the mix. With his new roommate and his overworked cranky
housekeeper and the ladies' revised schedule, Bernard's smooth life turns turbulent in a hurry.
Spradlin: What is it about "Boeing Boeing" that made you want to direct it?
Selinger: As a director and actor, I thrive on hearing an audience's response to live theater.
Having read the script for 'Boeing Boeing' several years ago, I found myself laughing out loud
as I got more and more involved in the plot of the show. I started playing it out in my mind how I
would bring the script to life on the stage and now I am being given the opportunity to do just that.
Spradlin: What challenges have you faced in directing the play?
Selinger: There is a great deal of physical comedy in this show. Furniture, props etc. are getting thrown about, people are running into one another, doors are opening and closing within split seconds of each other. It is my job to keep everyone safe on stage while still maintaining the timing that is essential for the comedy to play out at its best.
Spradlin: How has your cast responded to these challenges?
Selinger: This cast has been incredible to work with. All the actors involved have been in
productions prior to 'Boeing Boeing.' Some actors have been in many productions, others have
been in several. Most have worked together at some point throughout the years. They work
amazingly well together, getting inspired by each other and encouraging one another. As a cast
we work and rework the blocking each night to assure that they can maintain safety but also
challenge each other to greater heights of the jokes.
Spradlin: What's been the most fun about directing it?
Selinger: By far, working with this particular group of people. We literally crack each other up
on a nightly basis. It's been so much fun watching the actors develop their characters, trying
different ways to approach their lines and then play up the comedy as much as they can get away with.
The cast is filled with veteran actors from the local theater scene.
Marc Oliphant plays Bernard. Oliphant was last seen as Dr. Robert Smith in the BCT production of "Bill W. and Dr. Bob." His Wisconsin friend Robert is played by Mitchell Dallman, a recent University of Minnesota-Duluth theater graduate and former CLC student seen in many plays, including "The Foreigner" and "I Hate Hamlet."
Bri Keran plays the beleaguered housekeeper Berthe. Keran has been in many local productions, most recently as Anne Smith in "Bill W. and Dr. Bob." The three fiancées/stewardesses are portrayed by Rachael Kline, Maren Goff and Emili Lane. All three have acted in raucous comedies on the BCT stage, with Kline and Goff appearing in "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress" and Lane in last summer's "Rumors."
The set design for the production is by Tim Leagjeld. Dawn Krautbauer designed the costumes,
including the retro 1960s airline stewardess uniforms. Ben Kent designed lighting and sound.
George Marsolek is the technical director, with Michelle Waldoch serving as stage manager.
Tickets are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199 or online at www.clcperformingarts.com. The production is sponsored by Jennifer and Isaak Anderson, and is supported by a generous grant from the Five Wings Arts Council. The entire BCT season, and this activity, are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.