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GTA's February Festival of Theatre features two comedies

2019-01-14-GTA-February Festivals
"Noises Off" will kick off Gainesville Theatre Alliance's February Festival of Theatre with "Men on Boats" rounding out the experience. "Noises Off" will be performed in the Hosch Theatre on Brenau's campus while "Men on Boats" is in Ed Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus.

Nearly 22 years after Beth Kendall saw "Noises Off" for the first time, she is looking forward to the Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA) performing it once again.

"It was laugh-out-loud funny," said Kendall, season-ticket-holder turned marketing manager for GTA. "The audience thought so, too. People came back multiple times to see it."

"Noises Off" will kick off GTA's February Festival of Theatre. GTA is a nationally acclaimed collaboration of the University of North Georgia (UNG), Brenau University, theater professionals, and the northeast Georgia community.

Kendall explained "Noises Off" is a three-act play featuring the on-stage and backstage antics of a second-rate theater troupe. In the first act, the audience will watch the troupe's play limping toward opening night. Then in the second act, the stage will revolve to reveal the interactions between the actors backstage.

Jim Hammond, artistic and managing director of GTA, explained during this act actors engage in physical comedy and have no dialogue. This atmosphere allows for laughter to continue uninterrupted since no lines will be missed.

"I've never experienced the non-stop rolling laughter that occurs in Act II of that play," Hammond said. "If laughter is the best medicine for what ails us, then maybe a good comedy is exactly what we will need in February."

Kendall added the third act culminates with the stage revolving back to the main play, and then "the bottom falls out." She said everything that could go wrong does go wrong in the play.

A free stage tour of "Noises Off" will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the Hosch Theatre on Brenau's campus at 429 Academy St. in Gainesville, Georgia. Parking is available around the building and on the street.

A preview performance for $13 will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11. Tickets for it will go on sale two weeks before the preview.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12-16 and 19-23 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17 and 23. A free opening night reception is scheduled for Feb. 12 in the lobby following the performance. It will be catered by 2 Dog Café. A question-and-answer session with the cast and crew will follow the Feb. 19 performance.

Tickets are $24-$26 for adults, $22-$24 for seniors and $14-$16 for students.

Rounding out the February Festival of Theatre will be "Men on Boats." The new play is based on John Wesley Powell's 1869 expedition to chart the Colorado River. To help modern audiences envision Powell's historic trip, it uses 19th-century customs but 21st-century language.

"We were thrilled to get the rights to it," Hammond said, explaining it will be the Georgia premiere of the play. "It's also a fantastic study of how to bring a river to life in the Ed Cabell Theater."

The drama-and-comedy-filled play also has a different twist to it. While all of the original explorers were men, the playwright created a script that spotlights, and at times lampoons, the archetype hero explorers by casting them all as strong women.

A free stage tour of "Men on Boats" will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31. To embrace the "outside-the-box" play, the stage tour will take place at the Lake Lanier Olympic Boat House, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, in Gainesville.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 17 and 19-23 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 23 at the Ed Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus at 3820 Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood, Georgia. A $10 preview performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and a free opening night reception will be after the Feb. 15 show catered by ACE catering. A free question-and-answer session will follow the Feb. 19 performance.

Tickets are $18-$20 for adults, $16-$18 for seniors and $12-$14 for students.

Patrons may select their seats on the GTA website or purchase tickets at the GTA Box Office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at 678-717-3624. MasterCard, Visa and Discover cards are accepted. Groups of 12 or more may receive a 20 percent discount by calling the Box Office; Americans with Disabilities Act seating is also available through the box office.

February Festival of Theatre

"Noises Off"

When: 6 p.m. Jan. 29, free stage tour; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 preview; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12-16 and 19-23 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17 and 23 regular performances

Where: Hosch Theatre on Brenau University's campus at 429 Academy St. in Gainesville, Georgia

Cost: Preview performance $13; regular performances $24-$26 for adults, $22-$24 for seniors and $14-$16 for students

"Men on Boats"

When: 6 p.m. Jan. 31, free stage tour; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, preview performance; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 17 and 19-23 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 23, regular performances

Where: Ed Cabell Theatre on UNG's Gainesville Campus at 3820 Mundy Mill Road in Gainesville

Cost: Preview performance $10; regular performances $18-$20 for adults, $16-$18 for seniors and $12-$14 for students

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