Mar. 21—CARTHAGE, Mo. — The comedic antics on stage during rehearsals early last week made director Neal Ruggeberg laugh — despite the fact that he'd seen "Boeing-Boeing" performed a half-dozen times on stage.
"The pride you feel when that happens, when that laughter rolls over you, is the same pride you feel when you're a parent and your child achieves a great goal or accomplishment," he said Wednesday. "It's such an adrenaline rush."
"Boeing-Boeing," the farce penned by French playwright Marc Camoletti, is now showing at Stone's Throw Theatre. The fast-paced comedy opened Friday and will show Sunday afternoon as well as Friday, March 26, through Sunday, March 28.
The play "is in the Guinness Book of Records for the most performed French play in the world," Ruggeberg said. "If you Google 'top farces' or 'best farces,' it would be right up there with 'Lend me a Tenor' and 'Noises' Off.'"
"Boeing-Boeing" was originally scheduled to open in spring 2020, but the pandemic intervened.
"We're happy to be able to perform it this time around," he said.
The play, set in the 1960s, centers on a bachelor named Bernard, played by Drew Girouard. He's engaged to three stewardesses, and none of them realize the others exist. Then all three show up in his apartment at once.
The stage play's set background is a rounded single room, with no sharp corners found anywhere, and seven doors set into the wall. Like in a cartoon, characters are always coming and going through the various doors.
"At one point all three stewardesses are in the apartment at the same time, but they're all in different rooms," coming and going in such quick intervals that they never see the other two in the same space together, Ruggeberg said. "So you can imagine one door closing and one door opening — just a lot of timing and rapid-fire boom, boom, boom."
Joining Girouard on stage will be Misty Hammer, Birgit Kuehn, Gloria Wilson, Melanie Kloppenborg and Doug Musick.
"The characters are all relatable; they are real characters in insane situations; you can react to them. They're not cartoon characters, and they're not over the top," Ruggeberg said. "It's an ensemble cast. Each one of the six cast members has a key contribution to the (overall) storyline; one character isn't any more integral to the overall storyline as anyone else. and I just love that kind of cast."
Ruggeberg hopes "Boeing-Boeing" allows folks forget about COVID-19 and other troubles.
"What better vehicle to come out and laugh and forget about the pandemic, the racial strife and the political (divisions) we've been seeing" for a long time now, he said. "This is just 2 1/2 hours of forgetting about all that and coming out here, laughing, having a great meal and a great time."
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Kevin McClintock is features editor for The Joplin Globe.