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‘Boeing Boeing’ set for takeoff at Riverland

Published 6:01am Sunday, November 10, 2013
Zack Huggan and Jessica Williams rehearse a scene Tuesday night for the upcoming Riverland Theatre presentation of “Boeing Boeing.” at Frank W. Bridges Theatre.  Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Zack Huggan and Jessica Williams rehearse a scene Tuesday night for the upcoming Riverland Theatre presentation of “Boeing Boeing.” at Frank W. Bridges Theatre. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Bernard is in a tight spot, but that’s what he gets for trying to juggle three fiancees while keeping it a secret.

Bernard (Zack Huggan) is at the center of controversy in Riverland’s upcoming presentation, “Boeing Boeing,” a French farce with plenty of door-slamming action and laughter. The show will open at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Frank W. Bridges Theatre, with additional presentations at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21, 22, 23 and 2 p.m. Nov. 24.

Director Lindsey Williams choreographs a scene with actors Zack Huggan, left, and Eric Williams, right during rehearsel of the play “Boeing Boeing,” Tuesday night at Frank W. Bridges Theatre.
Director Lindsey Williams choreographs a scene with actors Zack Huggan, left, and Eric Williams, right during rehearsel of the play “Boeing Boeing,” Tuesday night at Frank W. Bridges Theatre.

The 1960s Broadway production didn’t do well until its second time around several years ago, when it won a Tony Award for best revival, said Riverland Theatre Director Lindsey Williams. She and the cast are excited what this work, translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, will offer to audiences.

“I thought it would be really great to do this, as it’s a fast-paced, silly comedy,” Williams said.

The setting takes place in Bernard’s apartment in 1960s France. Bernard’s three fiancees — each a beautiful airline hostess — have frequent “layovers.”

Bernard’s housekeeper, Gretchen, isn’t too fond of the juggling act. However, Bernard’s good friend, Robert (Eric Williams) tries to keep track of the confusion, along with the audience. For example, Williams enjoys one scene where a visiting fiance is really pushing Bernard’s “schedule,” so she needs to go. But she wants to stay. She’s almost out the door, but then she’s ready to stay again. Bernard and Robert are torn.

“They were are literally trying to drag her out of the door,” Williams said. “It goes so far just to the point of being ridiculous.”

The fiance juggling act can’t last forever, though. One can guess the outcome.

“Of course, they all end up at this apartment at the same time,” Williams siad.

For Riverland, it will be a challenging venture into intense comedy. While plenty of Riverland productions include elements of comedy, Williams said this farce steps it up a notch.

“People say comedy is hard, and it really is,” Williams said.

Yet that’s what the cast wanted.

“I had heard students say they wanted to learn more comedy techniques,” Williams added.

For Riverland, the production will be a good blend of new faces and experienced performers, including some who played in the recent Riverland production of “The Rocky Horror Show.” Another unique aspect is all the performers are Riverland students.

Emma Waters, who plays the housekeeper, Gretchen, is learning to push her emotional acting threshold. Williams has told Waters to sell her emotions tenfold to nail the part. Waters was recently in “The Rocky Horror Show,” and “Boeing Boeing” is her fourth Riverland production. She previously worked backstage, too. Yet this show will expand Waters’ comfort level and acting skills.

“That’s the biggest challenge for me, is just to go way over the top with it,” she said.

The performance is fast-paced, loud and at times ridiculous. Still, it is appropriate for about ages 12 and older, as there is no swearing or explicit scenes. The audience shouldn’t have any issues keeping pace, though. The plot unfolds with just six characters in three scenes. Like Bernard, the only trouble the audience will have is keeping track of where each fiancée is supposed to be at any moment, until it’s too late.

“It’s just a lot of fun, and I think the people of Austin are really going to enjoy it,” Waters said. “It’s a lot of physical comedy, and it’s just a really entertaining show.”

Tickets to the play are $13 or free for Riverland students. Call the Riverland box office at 507-433-0595 or visit riverland.edu/tickets.


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