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Fast-paced comedy opens this weekend at Cloquet High School

The Cloquet High School spring play, "Noises Off" is a play within a play, a comedy that gives the audience an inside look at a dysfunctional cast during three different performances, a final dress rehearsal, during a matinee performance and in the tour's final stop, from more than one angle. The New York Times called the play "spectacularly funny" and a "festival of delirium." Sardines feature prominently in this farce written by Michael Frayn, where lines are forgotten, love triangles unravel and anything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

Fortunately, that's not the case with the actual three-act play.

In his second year at the helm, director Corey Hunt said this year has been easier because he knows all the kids now and is comfortable with running the show, but also more difficult because the play itself is more challenging.

"It demands comedic timing, physical timing and accent work," he said, explaining that the actors must assume a British accent for the play within the play, but switch back to their regular accent when stepping out of those characters.

"It's been fun but challenging," he said during a run-through Monday, when it was impossible for a newcomer to tell if actors were forgetting their lines or simply acting like they forgot their lines as demanded by the play.

And that's how it goes in the theater: actors really do scramble and then things usually come together at the very last moment.

While he has some veteran as well as new actors in the show, there are also some new adult faces behind the scenes. Megan Gerlovich is Hunt's new assistant director; she's a fellow Cloquet 2001 grad who acted with Hunt during their Lumberjack days. Dennis Francisco was in charge of set design. John Justad designed the lights and helped build the set. Lonna Witte is the costume designer, while Audrey Beryl, another theater alumnus, is doing hair and makeup. Al Woodward and Iris Keller came back to help with building and painting the set.

Hunt promises audience members a good time.

"If you like to laugh and want to see something completely unique that you haven't seen before, come check out our show," he said.

The show starts at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 5-6, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at Cloquet High School. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.

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