By Joseph Pratt
The Shawnee State University (SSU) theatrical company is performing “Boeing-Boeing,” farce of the 60s, at 7:30 p.m. from Thursday, April 17, through Saturday, April 19, and from Thursday, April 24, through Saturday, April 26, in the Kahl Theatre in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
The story takes place in Paris, where Bernard, an architect, juggles three gorgeous fiancés, an American, an Italian, and a German – all of whom are flight attendants. Bernard plans their arrivals and departures to the minute, courtesy of their flight schedules. But a combination of the faster Boeing 707 jet and bad weather wreak havoc with Bernard’s amorous juggling, and all three end up in town at the same time.
The play was a hit in France and debuted in London in 1962, where it played for seven years. A 2007 revival was again a smash and took off on Broadway in 2008. The show, despite being French, is a classic British, door-slamming, eye-winking sex farce. In 1991, the play entered the Guinness Book of Records as the most performed French play in the world.
“This show is just so much fun and I think I’ve seen the evidence of that in the spirit that has surrounded the rehearsals,” Director Mary Baughman said. “Everybody has been so positive and there has just been a lot of laughter and enjoyment in putting this together. It is a good way to cap off the year with just this kind of spirit about it.”
Baughman has been directing at SSU for four years and has a total of eight SSU shows under her directorial belt. Baughman has a long history of performance and theatre, and a Masters in educational theatre from New York University.
“I think the patrons will have a lot of fun, along with these folks on stage, as the events unfold,” Baughman said. “There are a lot of doors on this stage and when you see a lot of doors that is a pretty good indication that you’re going to have a farce with people coming and going in opportune and inopportune times. A lot of comedic timing is present in this show.”
While Baughman’s theatre career spans decades, she hasn’t directed or been involved in a production of “Boeing-Boeing before this production.”
“We’ve talked a bit about this in rehearsal,” Baughman explained. “I think this is a play about manipulation and trying to control other people. If you get to come see it, I think you’ll see what I mean by that. Trying to control other people doesn’t always work out, because the only person we really have control over is ourselves and when you are counting on being able to bend a situation to your will, it just doesn’t work.”
Jonnie Carpathios, sophomore, is relatively new to theatre and will be pursuing a musical theatre degree come next fall. He is playing the leading character in “Boeing-Boeing,” Bernard, the well-off architect with more women than he knows what to do with.
“My interest in performing arts was sparked freshman year and it is all I want to do,” Carpathios explained. “I’d like to pursue a career as an actor.”
Carpathios said that he enjoys his role and the mess that he ends up in during the show.
“He has everything planned perfectly, but the timetables are messed up because of faster planes being introduced and they all show up at the same time. He then has to juggle all of them and it is pretty hilarious,” Carpathios said. “I think a lot of people will like Bernard and be able to relate to him or know someone similar, because of the stuff he does.”
Sydney Mitz, freshman, is enrolled in the musical theatre program and has been in 18 productions. Mitz has played many roles, including Alice in Alice in Wonderland. She is playing the Italian fiance of Bernard, Gabriella.
“I’ve wanted to be involved in theatre my whole life,” Mitz admitted. “I can’t see myself doing anything else, really. I started in elementary school and I’ve been involved every since, because it is really fun and I love it.”
Mitz said that she is playing the ingénue and young love interest for the first time with this show and she absolutely loves her character.
“She is really fun,” Mitz said. “She is more of the charming one and is really witty. She asks a lot of questions, which causes a lot of problems for the boys, because she is smarter than you’d think she would be. I like her; she is different from what I’ve ever played before and is an experience.”
Mitz said that she has enjoyed rehearsing this show with her friends and thinks it will entertain everyone just as much as it does them, “I think people are really going to like the show. It is really funny, it’s cute and there are a lot of laughs written into it.”
“Boeing-Boeing” is performed by special arrangement with Samuel French Inc. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors, SSU faculty and staff, and $3 for students.
Tickets may be purchased at the McKinley Box Office in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, online through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com/venue/41868 , or by calling 740-351-3600.
Joseph Pratt can be contacted at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-464-4501, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.