Unpredictable, humor-filled actions and dialogue will take multiple bows in the spotlight next month inside the Fort Smith Little Theatre.
The “hysterical” antics and dialogue will be supplied by FSLT’s production of the popular comedy, “Boeing Boeing,” which will be staged at 7:30 p.m. April 3-5 and April 9-12, and again at 2 p.m. April 6 and April 13 at the theater, 401 N. Sixth St., said cast member Ian Miller.
“This is such a funny show, and the chemistry between the cast members is just great,” he said. “I truly, honestly don’t think they could have picked a better cast with better chemistry for this production. They’ve done an amazing job putting this show together.”
Like Jane Wineland, who plays Bertha the French housekeeper, and Tabatha Plymale, who is handling the role of Gabriella, the 28-year-old Miller is making his FSLT debut with “Boeing Boeing.” Miller said portraying his character, which is billed as “Bernard the American charmer,” has been simultaneously challenging and rewarding during rehearsals.
“The fact that I get to play this American bachelor in Paris who the ladies love, it’s exciting,” he said. “But the fun problem is, Bernard can’t choose between the ladies, so he has to love all three of them at the same time.”
Bernard lives in a Parisian apartment near the Orly Airport, while a wise-cracking Bertha works to keep Bernard’s social antics from derailing into dangerous territories.
“Bernard is kind of an indecisive character, so I get to go through a variety of emotions when I’m on the stage, and those emotions are fun to portray each and every night,” said Miller, who received a double major in biology and theater from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith in 2011.
“I’ll have emotions that come out on stage that didn’t come out previously, so I can’t guarantee that each performance will be exactly the same,” he said. “That makes it fun and exciting.”
Taken from a story written by Marc Camoletti and translated by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans, “Boeing Boeing” is directed by FSLT actor-director Suzanne M. Thomas and also features cast members Aaron Ray (Robert), Tina Dale (Gloria) and Jennifer Canada (Gretchen).
“There has been a little bit of a challenge in that, at the Fort Smith Little Theatre, the audience members who are on the front row are literally on stage with the cast,” Miller said. “When I was at Breedlove Auditorium at UAFS, there was more space on the stage, and the audience didn’t surround the actors. So at the Little Theatre, it’s been a little challenge getting used to that, but it’s been good.”
Crew members for “Boeing Boeing” include producers Shannon Stoddard and Deepu Thomas John, technical adviser Carole Rogers, stage manager Sherry Hester, assistant stage manager Nathan Stockemer, set designer Scott Black, set assistant Duff Taylor and set construction members Robert Montgomery and Larry Ross.
Other members of the show’s crew are prop mistress Audra Sargent, prop assistant Kerri Nally, costumes mistress Jill Ledbetter, costume assistant Wendy Quick, costumes helper Logan Ledbetter, hair and makeup specialist Summer Ferguson, choreographer Wesley Fox, lighting designer Mark Huneycutt, sound engineer Justin Johnson and “help team” members Rhonda Fawcett, Eric Wells, Joe Graham and Kiane French.
“The cast and crew for this production are great,” Miller said. “With ‘Boeing Boeing,’ what better show to have to wow the audience with wall-to-wall, non-stop comedy? It’s a funny story about the life of this guy who has to deal with all this drama.”