Farce finishes run this week at Portland Lutheran School

Lucas Buchanan, 17, a junior at Barlow High School, plays director Lloyd Dallas in Black Swan Youth Theatre’s “Noises Off.”

“He’s mean in a nonchalant way,” Buchanan says of Dallas. “It’s kind of fun some of the things I get to say and the things I get to do.”

In order to fully explain what he means, Buchanan invents a new word.

“I’ve gotten to channel some of my own sarcastic-ness through this character.”by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: NICOLE THORNTON - The cast of Noises Off! will conclude its performances this week at Portland Lutheran School. Sitting from left: Meredith Neilson, Rachel Lawrence, Jason Warman, Jason Rathbone. Standing from left: Erik Scott, Blake Dunbar, Valerie Warman, Lucas Buchanan, Ellie Leach.

“Sarcastic-ness” could be considered the premise behind “Noises Off,” written by Englishman Michael Frayn.

The play within a play, which debuted in 1982, makes light of the backstage antics of the cast of a fictitious play called “Nothing On.” The two plays begin to interlock as the characters make their exits from “Nothing On,” only to find themselves making entrances into the even worse nightmare going on backstage.

The Black Swan production’s actors and producers, aside from the director, Susan Scott, are teenagers from the Portland area.

“I think those who are in theater who have done theater before will find it hilarious because some of these things really go on,” Buchanan says. “You just want to laugh your head off.”

Black Swan premiered the play last weekend at Portland Lutheran School, and it concludes its run there from Thursday through Saturday, June 6-8.

Like Buchanan, Valerie Warman, 16, a junior at Oregon Connections Academy, says the play allows her to channel emotions she doesn’t normally display. Warman has taken on the role of Dotty Otley, who plays Mrs. Clackett, the housekeeper in “Nothing On.”

“She loves attention from everybody,” Warman says. “She’s a huge flirt as well. A bit of a cougar.”

Warman says she and her brother, Jason, 18, who plays Selsdon Mowbray in the play, spent a lot of time working on her character.

“I really like kind of being someone really dramatic because I’m not so much,” Warman adds.

Stagehand’s view

So what does a real live stagehand veteran think of “Noises Off”? Monica Debord, 16, a Clackamas High sophomore, has worked a number of years offstage for Black Swan and says “Noises” nails what it’s like to coordinate set changes as actors come in and out of the spotlight.

“Crazy,” she says, “that’s how it is backstage, how everybody’s running into each other and stuff.”

She hastens to add that she’ll do her best not to let life imitate art when she directs folks backstage for “Noises.”

“I just like the sense of control that I have, and I always know what’s going off.”

At the other end of the theatrical spectrum is the stage-loving Ellie Leach, 16, a Barlow High sophomore who plays Belinda Blair in “Noises” and Flavia Brent in “Nothing On.”

“She’s a very upbeat peppy character who’s been in showbiz since she was little,” Leach says. “She tends to be the gossip of the group — she pretty much has the scoop about what’s going on.”

Leach adds that she can see a bit of herself in her extroverted character.

“I can understand where’s she’s coming from,” she says. “I do like to gossip, but I’m not as malicious as she is,” she adds with a laugh.

It’s a challenge playing her role, Leach says.

“You need to put your entire body and everything into the play,” she says. “I never stop moving in the second act.”

Leach speaks for the cast and crew when she says she thinks Black Swan has picked a winner in “Noises.”

“I think the audience will have just as much as of a fun time as the people on stage.”

If you go

WHO: Black Swan Youth Theatre

PRESENTS: “Noises Off’

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, June 6-8

WHERE: Portland Lutheran School 740 S.E. 182nd Ave.

COST: $7 for students, $8 for adults.


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