I have been a member of the NOLA Project for the past 2 years.
So when David Hoover told us that we were going to be able to do a production at UNO in the fall I was extremely delighted at the idea.
We had a meeting and the play Is He Dead? was mentioned as a good possibility.
A large cast farce.
Something our company hasn’t done in quite some time.
And something that would be very, very fun to do on the big thrust stage at UNO.
The play is absolutely ridiculous.
The idea is that the real life painter, Jean Francois Millet, is under the fiscal thumb of the evil art dealer, Andre Bastien. In order to save himself, his poor artist friends, his lady friend and her family (who also owe money to Andre), Francois must fake his death in order to gain the fame and riches that comes to most artists posthumously.
Chicago, a felow painter, suggests that Francois disguises himself as his own fictitious twin sister, Madame Tillou.
Obviously, hilarity then ensues because Alex Wallace in a dress, is just too good to pass up.
In addition to Mr. Wallace the show includes company members AJ Allegra, Sam Dudley, James Bartelle, Kristin Witterschein and myself.
There are 7 UNO students rounding out the rest of the cast.
I think the casting is fair and balanced, and our director, Beau Bratcher, is a good friend of the company, and a graduate of UNO.
The design team is also a split between UNO and professional, with Mignon Charvet doing costumes, Mike Harkins doing sound, and Joan Long doing lights and scenic design.
I think everyone involved has been having more fun at rehearsal than should be allowed.
I, personally, have never laughed more during a rehearsal process.
Watching Sam, AJ and Jared Gore just run amuck on stage, and then having Wallace prance around in giant, 1846 women’s wear, is just the icing on top.
And the facial hair. How can I not mention the massive amount of facial hair that is happening on this stage.
EVEN I GET A FAKE MUSTACHE!
I think this show is a great choice for the company because not often do we do big, broad farces. We generally stick to the pitch black dark, twisted comedy. So, it has definitely been a lot of fun to take all the silliness we have inside of us and be able to put it towards the show.
At first, I think some of the UNO students were a little taken aback at all the wacky things we were trying on stage, and how we made fun of each other and our acting choices, but once they realized that was how our family rolled, they have certainly jumped on the bandwagon.
The whole collaboration has been positive for both sides, I hope.
We have gotten to work in this giant space, with a director and actors that most of the company have never gotten a chance to work with.
And the students of UNO have gotten to see how our little company operates, and how productions are definitely a team sport, and we are a team that knows how to work hard and play even harder.
Get your tickets and come spend 2 hours at the lakefront.
Jared Gore’s German accent alone is worth the drive.
Is He Dead?
Fridays and Saturdays and Thursday 9/15 at 7:30
Sundays at 2:30
TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW!