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Dinner and Show: The Start of a Bright Future for UCC’s Theatre and Culinary Arts Students

The Comedy “Noises OFF!,” will soon be released for public viewing, starting Friday, Nov. 7 through Nov. 16 at UCC’s Centerstage. A special part of the opening night includes a dinner made possible by the UCC Foundation and UCC’s Theatre, Culinary Arts and Wine Institute programs.
The comedy has a mature angle and Stephanie Newman, director of Theatre Arts, advised “It is best for parents with young ones to use their own discretion.”
“Noises Off!,” written by Michael Frayn, brings to life the story of a director and his cast as they prepare themselves for their own performance. The play begins unexpectedly with the “Noises Off!” actors rehearsing a play called “Nothing On.” Just as the stage lights brighten on these actors opening night, everything begins to fall apart as they struggle to remember their lines.
As this is a play within a play, the actors for “Noises Off!” take on the role of an actor within a play. The major actors are Lloyd Dallas (Tolley Evans), Selsdon Mowbray (Ashley Dahl), Dotty Otley (Jere Bartley), Garry Lejeune (Russ Cole), Poppy Norton-Taylor (Debbie Wilks), Frederick Fellowes (Josh Carlton), Belinda Blair (Wendy Weikum) and Tim Allgood (Carl Jones).

Provided by UCC

The understudies are going to give their own performance of the show 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12. The recital will be free as a means of supporting the understudies, Newman explained; for the other performances tickets for UCC students are $8, $12 for adults and $10 for seniors.
“The purpose is to enjoy ourselves and have a good time together,”Newman said.
For the opening night, on Nov. 7, UCC will be selling tickets to a pre-show dinner with entertainment. UCC is also providing an opening night shuttle service from the Whipple Fine Art’s parking lot to the Danny Lang Center and back for the evening’s entertainment at Centerstage Theatre. The shuttle service will be continuous starting at 5 p.m.
The dinner, expected to reach 100 to 150 attendants, will be a fall themed meal. According to chef Chris VanDyke, director of the Culinary Arts program, the menu will include roasted turkey, wild rice pilaf with cranberries, kale salad, smoked chorizo sausage bites and other delicacies. A no-host bar in Danny Lang’s tasting room will offer Chardonnay wine and assorted beers.
Dinner entertainment will include a short preview of the upcoming show performed by understudies.
The planning for the dinner started about a month ago. Students will start preparing for the dinner two to three days before opening night with approximately eight hours involved in prepping, serving and cleaning up.
Chef VanDyke sees more events of this nature as part of his vision in reshaping the culinary program to provide students with experience beyond their current work in UCC’s River Rush Catering. “This allows a different menu from the catering menu,” chef VanDyke said, “It is all going to be student run.”
The play will last approximately two and a half hours after curtains open with about 12 students are involved, either in play preparation or acting as understudies and stage workers.
Jonathan Pardon, a UCC theatre student, is one of the show’s two stage managers. “’Noises Off’ requires a lot of preproduction work that needed attention for the job to be split up into two,” Pardon said. He put in about 20 hours a week preparing for the opening night.
“As a stage manager in rehearsals, I’m a facilitator between both the director and actors. I prep the rehearsal room to make sure all the logistics for running the rehearsals that evening can go smoothly. Having the right prop for the night, having the stage set up for the scene and then when we run the actual rehearsal I am on [the] book notating the show,” Pardon said. The notation enables the cast to reset to exact points in the play.
The comedy “Noises Off!” will be the second time culinary arts students and theatre staff worked together to provide a dinner on opening night. According to Newman, future plays will also be accompanied by an opening night dinner.
For more information about the performance or dinner menu, call 541- 440-7700 or visit UCC’s homepage and select the “Noises Off!” link in the news panel.