AFD Theatre is staging "Boeing, Boeing," May 6 through 8, 13 through 15 and 20 through 22 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee.UPDATED May 22:
But before the show opens, at 22 Academy St., life was very busy. After a dark winter, AFD started up again with the final show of the season, "Boeing, Boeing."
A French farce written by Marc Camoletti, it tells the story of Bernard, a man smitten with gorgeous women. Simultaneously engaged to three airline hostesses, he has been able to juggle their schedules so that they never meet. Since they fly on three separate airlines, there is always one up, one down and one coming in to land.
But when Boeing brings in faster jets, their lives are about to collide.
Arlington residents involved
The show is directed by Arlington resident Paul Murphy, who last seen in AFD’s December production of "Angel Street," and last directed the musical comedy "9 to 5" on the AFD stage.
An experienced actor as well as a seasoned director, Paul loves a good comedy. “I was drawn the show because it is so well written. It has a really tight, fast paced, funny script," he said in an interview. "We have a super talented cast who make the most of the play's great characters. The show is as hilarious now as it was back en it premiered in the mid-'60s. Right now, I think audiences are really ready for some levity and a good laugh.”
Backing up the cast is a set designed by Arlington resident Mark Bastoni. The script calls for seven doors in one apartment, and much of the action of the show requires split-second timing of cast members coming in and out of all those entrances.
The AFD stage is somewhat narrow, with little wing space, so fitting in all those doors and still allowing enough space for some quick costume changes in the “bedrooms” was challenging. But Mark has designed and been set technician for Arlington shows before, so he is intimately familiar with the space. He decided to put the doors up first, then added the walls around them, once the director felt everything was in a good location. A set-building crew of about a dozen people have been building and painting and putting on the final touches.
Another Arlington resident who is critical to the production is Joe Stallone, who has taken on costume design. The 1960s was a glamorous period for air flight. People dressed in their Sunday best when they flew, were served gourmet food as well as free drinks and wine, since everyone was treated like royalty back in days when there was no distinction between first class and coach. Airline hostesses, all single young women, wore uniforms designed by the best Parisian and Italian designers of the day. Stallone has a team of seamstresses who are sewing and tailoring the costumes from scratch for the three “fiancées” to authentically look the period.
Other Arlington residents on the team include Ginger Webb as production manager, Tyler Chapman as assistant stage manager. Another trio of residents -- Ellen Baillie, Keiko Ogura and Marie Mueller -- are all trying their hands as props and set-dressing designers. Arlington Friends of the Drama is an all-volunteer organization, and loves teaching new recruits about the backstage world of theater.
The cast includes AFD member Dayle Ballentine as the long-suffering French maid Berthe. Jon Nuquist, who has acted in a number of AFD productions, plays Robert, an old friend who comes to Paris for a visit just as the airline schedules are about to collide.
Likewise, Michelle Mount, who plays Gretchen from Lufthansa, has also graced the Arlington stage. New to AFD are Dave Gaffny, who plays Bernard, and two of the hostesses: McKenna Canty (Gloria flying TWA), and Rachael Rabinovitz (Gabriella disembarking from Air Italia).
99th season ending
This show brings AFD’s 99th season to an end. One of the oldest community theaters in the country, Arlington Friends of the Drama starts its 100th season in the fall. To celebrate its centennial, it will bring back one of its most successful shows from each quarter century. Since Gilbert and Sullivan was very popular in its founding years, AFD has chosen "Iolanthe," which audiences loved enough that it was produced three times in the early years.
Next up will be the comedy "Light Up the Sky," by Moss Hart. "Dancing at Lughnasa" by Brian Friel is the third show in the lineup, and finally "Nunsense" by Dan Goggin, which played to sold-out crowds when it was performed.
"Boeing, Boeing" opens May 6 and runs through May 22.
The theater is wheelchair accessible through an outdoor elevator to the left of the main entrance, and assistive listening devices are available.
All performances take place at AFD Theatre, 22 Academy St., behind Town Hall. On-street parking is available.
Proof of vaccination and facemasks continue to be required at this venue.
Sept. 30, 2021: 'All Night' Strut' returned AFD to its stage Oct. 7-17
This news announcement was published Wednesday, April 20, 2022, and updated April 23, to a feature by Ginger Webb, as well as May 15.
YOUR VIEW: Opinions: Alewife, poison, parents, fund-raiser, poetry, news, T, Roe, letters
FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below