SLICK bachelor Bernard truly has it all: a successful career as an architect. A sweet Parisian flat. And one—two—three. fiancées!
The Collective Face sends off their season with a belly laugh via Boeing Boeing, a 1960s sex comedy revolving around airplane timetables and the invention of the Boeing Boeing aircraft, a revolutionary high-speed jet. Originally French, it’s been translated for the American stage.
You see, Bernard’s had the whole juggling act on lockdown for a while: by dating stewardesses from different airlines, he seamlessly juggles gorgeous girls from America, Germany, and Italy, without any of them having to know about one another.
Then someone went and invented that pesky high-speed jet, landing all the dames in Paris at the same time, all with their own plans for one-on-one time with Bernard.
With hysterical slapstick and cringe-worthy situational comedy, midcentury stylings, all wrapped up in the glory days of air travel, it’s sure to be an all-around delight.
First staged in 1962, the farce enjoyed a Broadway revival in 2008, and is the most performed French play throughout the world. Director David I.L. Poole has great confidence in the new translation.
“It has a weird history,” he shares. “When it was written in the 1960s, the first production that came over to be on Broadway didn’t go so well. I think it was because they tried to Americanize it too much. This new translation is far better.[image-3]
“They actually did it in England first, and they really worked with translating and realized that they didn’t have to Anglo-Saxon the jokes: people would get them. Comedy is comedy is comedy!”
Poole advises that there’s plenty to love in this Mad Men-era performance, a stage show ahead of its time.
“It’s one of these plays that’s really interesting: it starts off in the 1960s, very sort of misogynistic,” explains Poole. “You have the lothario, Bernard, with his three fiancées...and at the end of it—I don’t want to spoil the ending!—there’s a little twist that’s very feminist. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting!’ That’s what makes it surprising.”
“It’s the boys’ club, the Rat Pack,” he offers. “Mad Men. The women in Mad Men are very much objectified, but at the end of this, it’s amazing what they did.”
The set is pure midcentury modern, bathed in white with wood tones; Poole studied architectural drawings of the time, brainstorming what kind of chic flat a young, hot architect such as Bernard would choose for entertaining his ladyfriends.
With all his fiancées in his apartment at once, a lot of the humor, ahem, hinges on Bernard shuffling the gals in and out of various rooms so their paths don’t cross.
“The difficulty of this show is that there are multiple doors,” says Poole. “It’s very door-heavy!”
If the content wasn’t funny enough by itself, a strong cast carries it out to perfection.
“We have a cast that’s to die for!” Poole gushes. “Eric Salles, who’s playing Robert, Bernard’s friend, is hysterically funny. And Zachary Burke, who’s playing Bernard, is funny as hell!”
Poole advises that this one’s more geared toward the adults, with a lot of the humor based in innuendo.
“If you like slapstick, in-your-face comedy, and belly laughs, then this is the show for you this season!” he ensures.
Opening night’s performance will be followed by a reception with food provided by Joe’s Homemade; Collective Face will announce their upcoming season, as well.
The Collective Face Theatre Ensemble Presents: Boeing Boeing
Muse Arts Warehouse
Friday, May 8 – Sunday, May 17
Shows at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. on Sundays
$20 general admission, $15 students