BEMIDJI -- When Derrick Houle was planning his next directorial production for the Bemidji Community Theater, he decided a farce would be just the ticket for patrons longing to escape the winter doldrums and growing snow piles.
He chose “Boeing Boeing,” a 60-year-old French play about a jet-setting bachelor who is engaged to three stewardesses at the same time. He arranges things so that his three fiancées never meet each other, until Boeing comes out with a new and faster jet, and they all show up on the same day. Turbulence ensues, as you can imagine.
The play opens Friday, Jan. 31 and runs for two weekends at the Chief Theater.
“Originally I was going to do another thriller,” Houle said. “But I got to thinking that maybe it would be better to have a little laughter to warm things up a bit.”
Jeffrey Roy Willis plays the bachelor, Bernard. Rebecca Cue, Tiffany Barta and Julie Kaiser play the fiancées. Houle plays Bernard's friend, Robert and Sasha Almendinger plays Berthe, the bachelor's maid who tries to help keep the shenanigans under control.
Houle said the cast has been meeting the challenge of learning lines and timing as opening night approaches.
“I like all comedies,” he said. “But my favorite comedies are farces, just unrealistic situations. To me they’re one of the most difficult types of plays to do, just because there’s so much timing that’s involved. We’re a week out and we’re still trying to stay in character, because it’s just dang funny.”
“Boeing Boeing” was written in 1960 by the French playwright Marc Camoletti. The English language adaptation was first staged in London at the Apollo Theatre in 1962 and transferred to the Duchess Theatre in 1965, running for a total of seven years. In 1991, the play was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most performed French play throughout the world.
“It’ll just be a fun night out,” Houle said. “If you want a good laugh and just get away from the winter for a bit, you’ll enjoy this one.”
If you go:
What: Bemidji Community Theater presents “Boeing Boeing”
When: Performances at 7 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 1, 7 and 8; and 2 p.m. Feb. 2 and 9.
Where: Chief Theater
Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $6 for children. Available at Ken K. Thompson Jewelry and Iverson Corner Drug.