In Focus: Paul Bunyan Playhouse Opens ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’
With the Paul Bunyan Playhouse’s summer season in full swing, what could go wrong? For their second show of the season, it’s almost everything.
The cast and crew work together to pull off stunts from sword fights to spit takes in the name of comedy for the show “The Play That Goes Wrong” by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, and Jonathan Sayer. The play centers around a fictional theater company and their attempt to put on a production of “The Murder at Habersham Manor.” But, some parts do not go as planned.
“Somebody gets knocked out, the stage manager has to fill in for her. Things fall off the walls. The walls end up falling down,” said Rachel Thompson, an actress who plays the character of “Annie.” “So just think like the worst thing that can happen in live theater happens in this play.”
Filled with stunts, silliness and even a little audience interaction, this play sees the cast try to keep it together while the set falls apart around them.
“It is, I think, the most challenging play I’ve seen,” said Violence & Action Director Mason Tyer, who has blocked this play five times now. “Actors have to physically do it because everyone’s involved in basically every aspect of the play and the timing in order for it to all work is like a clock.”
“But it was just about figuring out what’s the safest way to do it and execute it so that not only are we safe, but it looks like it’s real and it looks like it’s still controlled,” said Cody Carlson, who plays the character “Robert.”
“The Play That Goes Wrong” is one of five shows the Paul Bunyan Playhouse will put on this summer for their summer stock program. And, with roughly two weeks to stage a full production, acting is just one skill cast and crew will use.
“You have to be able to take a note. You have to be able to communicate … if you have any concerns or confusion,” said Thompson. “But also, retention is incredibly important.”
“I feel like this group of people and our directors are so on top of it that I feel very comfortable at this point in the process,” said Carlson. “And we’ll be ready for opening night.”
Opening night was on June 16, and the play will run until June 24. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. with matinees on the 18th and 21st starting at 2 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.