A chat with Alison Whitehurst on making chaos in THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG

Q: This play is PHYSICAL. Much of the comedy in the script comes not from what is said (although there are plenty of riotous lines), but from what is happening - or not - on stage with actors’ bodies, scenic elements, props, etc. There must be a great sense of order in the production for all of the chaos to be performed safely and repeatably. What do you find to be some of the most exciting aspects of working on a show that demands such precise physical comedy from the cast?

 A: I was immediately attracted to this show for exactly these reasons! The Play That Goes Wrong is deliciously challenging and invites its cast to engage in three planes of consciousness going on at once. Go with me here: Florence, the “grieving fiancé” voraciously dodges murder accusations by either flouncing around or melting down. Sandra, our “leading lady” playing Florence, is maniacally committed to a successful opening night at all costs, believing wholeheartedly its unraveling through zero fault of her own. All of which is balanced by Alison, the living human being chiefly responsible for my scene partners’ safety -- making eye contact before every punch, managing screams and silence at the appropriate times to guide the viewer’s focus to catch what we want them to catch, while also remembering to bend my knees and brace for impact. This exciting balancing act ensures every moment of delicious chaos is not only a delight to audiences, but also executed safely and easily by all, six times a week. In the world of the theatre where text is king, action is the star of this show!

If you find yourself at Stage West with us before we close on March 12th, brush up your body language because everything NOT being said is the most important story being told!