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Michael Moran returns to Cultural Park to direct ‘Play On!’


Playwright Rick Abbot’s side-splitting comedy Play On! opens at Cultural Park Theater on February 3. Michael Moran returns to direct this play within a play.

The comedy follows a game community theater group that is desperately trying to put on a murder-mystery titled “Murder Most Foul.” Standing in their way is playwright Phyllis Montague, who keeps revising the script even though the opening is just four days away! Act I depicts a rehearsal of the dreadful show, during which the playwright repeatedly interrupts the actors with on-the-fly revisions. Act II portrays the near-disastrous dress rehearsal. And the uproariously funny final act showcases the actual performance in which anything that can go wrong does. When the author decides to give a speech on the state of the modern theater during the curtain calls, the audience is treated to a madcap climax and a thoroughly hilarious romp. Even the sound effects garner their share of laughter.

For those who like points of comparison, Play On! possesses a remarkable number of similarities with the better-known backstage farce Noises Off! Both are three-act plays that lampoon the behind-the-scenes antics of producing a dreadful community theater play. The director, stage manager, dumb young actress and drunken male actor are character types common to both plays. But there’s no plagiarism here. Abbot penned Play On! two years before Noises Off! was written, so of the two, it’s the seminal work.

Play On! runs through February 13.

February 1, 2022.

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