Trinity’s Joe Wilson goes retro with ’Boeing-Boeing’
"Boeing-Boeing," a pleasantly retro farce by Marc Camoletti (translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans), debuts at Providence’s acclaimed Trinity Repertory Company starting April 18 and running through May 13 in the Chace Theater.
The play was first a hit in Paris in 1960. Two years later, its English-language version opened in London, where it became a West End staple for seven years. A Broadway version, though, was a quick flop in 1965, closing after 23 performances. It wasn’t until four decades later - in 2008 - did the farce become a Broadway hit, winning the Tony Award for Best Revival.
The play, set in the 1960s, concerns playboy Bernard (Joe Wilson, Jr.) who juggles romances with three beautiful international airline stewardesses (Amanda Dolan and Liz Morgan; and Brown/Trinity alum Rebecca Gibel). To do so, he maps out their arrivals and departures like clockwork. His plan soars until an old friend (Stephen Thorne) visits and then each of his fiancées land on his doorstep on the same night.
Taking comedy seriously
Rounding out the cast is guest actor Nance Williamson, who plays Bernard’s exasperated housekeeper Bertha. Williamson previously appeared as one of the Pigeon Sisters in 2010’s "The Odd Couple."
Director and company member Fred Sullivan Jr., takes comedy seriously. "If there’s anything we actors love as much as a juicy dramatic part, it’s hearing a full house laugh together, loud and long," Sullivan said. "There’s almost nothing I enjoy more than being in a rehearsal hall full of talented comedians cracking each other up."
Wilson calls "Boeing-Boeing" "a lot of fun."
Bernard is a "control freak", Wilson told EDGE. "He is extremely organized, passionate, and wants to have it all. He’s created the perfect life for himself."
Wilson has appeared in several Trinity productions, including "Camelot," "Yellowman," "Cabaret," "Twelfth Night," "A Raisin in the Sun," and "The Odd Couple."
For the actor, playing the lead role in a farce was a challenge he was willing to embrace.
"This is very new territory for me," Wilson explained. "I’m approaching it like I would approach any story and role. People do extraordinary things and create extraordinary lives for themselves and extraordinary things happen. Farce gives you a certain amount of freedom physically to be able to act within. I think simply its a reflection of the emotion you’re creating within the character that comes from a very real place."
Wilson has a lot of respect for his castmates, especially Thorne, whom Wilson calls a "consummate professional."
Audiences will be leaving the theatre feeling happy when they see the play, according to Wilson: "It’s purely about joy."
Tickets are now on sale at the Trinity Rep. box office, 201 Washington St.; by phone at (401) 351-4242; and online at www.trinityrep.com.
Evening performances are Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30 pm with selected Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 2 pm.
The first performance on April 13 at 7:30PM is Pay What You Can (PWYC). PWYC tickets go on sale at 6:30 pm, limit one per person.Trinity Rep continues its mission to make live theater accessible to all by offering additional discounted and rush tickets available for each performance; call the box office for details. For information on group rates (parties of 10 or more) contact Group Sales at (401) 351-4242.
Talkbacks will be held after every performance of Boeing-Boeing. Audiences are invited to share their response to the play’s production and themes for approximately twenty minutes. Visit www.trinityrep.com to view a full performance calendar.