Boeing Cast Talk Farce & Stereotypes at WOS Q&ADate: 19 March 2007
Theatregoers on our Whatsonstage.com Outing on Thursday last week (15 March 2007) to Boeing Boeing at the West End's Comedy Theatre enjoyed an extra treat when five members of the six-strong cast – Mark Rylance (pictured), Roger Allam, Tamzin Outhwaite, Daisy Beaumont and Michelle Gomez – joined us for an exclusive discussion following their evening performance.
In Marc Camoletti’s classic Sixties farce, Bernard (Allam), a successful architect living in Paris, thought he could easily cope with his three air hostess fiancées. It was all a question of timetables and a reliable, long-suffering housekeeper (Frances de la Tour) who reluctantly has the role of romantic air-traffic controller. When old school chum Robert (Rylance) arrives, Bernard relishes the chance to show his wide-eyed friend his first-class operation at work. Unfortunately, schedules change, flights are delayed and a new turbo-charged Boeing aircraft is introduced, causing chaos.
Boeing-Boeing, which originally opened in London in the mid-sixties, held the world record for the longest running comedy in the West End, playing over 2,000 performances before transferring to Broadway. This production is designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone. It is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Act Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw, Robert G Bartner and Bob Boyett.
At Thursday’s Q&A, which was hosted by Whatsonstage.com editorial director Terri Paddock, the cast talked about the challenges and the popularities of farce, national stereotypes, and the glamour of air travel.
Highlights from the discussion follow…
THE AIR HOSTESSES ON WHY THEY WANTED TO ACCEPT THEIR ROLES IN THE PLAY:
Michelle Gomez: What she said. Also, I had just finished doing a film and I wanted to do something completely different and it is so good to be doing something so refreshing and fun.
Daisy Beaumont: It was a job, and I don’t get offered many of those, so I thought I’d better take it.
THE CAST ON THE CHALLENGES OF FARCE:
Daisy Beaumont: It’s the choreography more than anything that makes farce challenging, with going in and out of doors all the time
Roger Allam: I’ve never done a farce before, I’ve done quite a lot of comedies but never a farce and one of my biggest nightmares would be to play this to a rapt silence. I would be very depressed if that happened.
ROGER ALLAM ON WHY FARCE IS POPULAR:
THE CAST ON THE NATIONALITY OF THEIR CHARACTERS:
Mark Rylance: The reason I chose a Welsh accent for my character was to show he is not from Paris, he is from an agricultural background and feels out of his depth in the city at first, where his friend has this hectic lifestyle. It was a way of differentiating between them.
Tamzin Outhwaite: We are basically all cartoons anyway, complete stereotypes of an American, a German and an Italian woman, but that’s the fun of it – and the stereotypes have to come from somewhere!
THE CAST ON THE GLAMOUR OF AIR TRAVEL:
Daisy Beaumont: My mother was actually an air hostess, I have a photo in my dressing room. They did have to be a lot more glamorous I think then, and they were weighed every month and weren’t allowed to go over eight and a half stone.
- by Caroline Ansdell