Amateur dramatics takes a good-natured ribbing in “Play On,” Rick Abbot’s 1980 comedy about the offstage and onstage antics of a community theater group. When the theatre group is offered the royalty-free play “Murder Most Foul” from new playwright Phyllis Montague, the group welcomes the chance to put the theatre back into the black for the first time in years.
The group tries desperately to put on the play, amid all kinds of maddening interference from its authoress, who keeps revising the script until almost opening night. During the actual performance anything that can go wrong does. At the curtain call, Phyllis decides to give a speech on the state of the modern theatre and what befalls her is the madcap climax to this hilarious romp!
“It’s a theater group that’s been together for years and years,” Pattaya Players President Christopher Parsons says. “They’re putting on an original play, and they’re down to the last four days.” The first act takes place at rehearsal, the second act, during dress rehearsal, and the last act is opening night. “Since so many things have been changed during rehearsals, they forget their lines and their entrances are late and early. It’s a spectacular mess!” Parsons notes.
What sets this 10-character comedy apart from popular Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off,” though, is that in the other play, the theatergoer has a backstage view; in “Play On,” the show is performed to the audience. From either vantage, it means an inordinate amount of physical business to work out! “Play On” features a talented ensemble cast, including Cailin Terhaar, Chris Harman, Jenn Blais, Katie Austin, Patricia Smith, Mara Swankey, Nick Lewis, Rob DeWolfe, Wendy Khan and John Mocny.