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Backstage Confidential 

Successfully staging a play -- as in, the show goes on with none of the actors killing each other or themselves -- is an unremarked-upon miracle. The forced fraternization brought about by run-throughs, technical rehearsals, dress rehearsals, after-parties, etc., is enough to break most normal people. But actors are not normal people; they thrive on the stress and the collaboration, and can often stave off murderous impulses until after final curtain call. Michael Frayn's Noises Off shows how a play gets made. An English acting company sets out to stage Nothing On, a dreadful little farce. Obstacles to success include Lloyd the director, a temperamental sort; his love interest, Brooke, an inexperienced actress; and Poppy, the assistant stage manager who also has feelings for Lloyd. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis closes its current season with Noises Off, which has a well-earned reputation as being one of the funniest plays about showbiz ever written. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday (March 19 through April 13) on the Browning Mainstage at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; 314-968-4925 or Tickets are $16.50 to $76.
Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 5 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Tuesdays, 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, 1:30 p.m. Starts: March 20. Continues through April 13, 2014

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