Presenting its final production of their 2012-2013 Studio Series, the NIU School of Theatre of Dance will stage the one-act farce, “The Real Inspector Hound,” by Tom Stoppard, opening April 18.
Stoppard’s classic play takes satirical aim at several conventions of live theater.
“The Real Inspector Hound” opens to an apparent play-within-a-play, quickly becomes a commentary on stuffy theater critics, and, while parodying Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” makes fun of the typical parlor-style whodunit mysteries.
The lead characters are Birdboot and Moon. They are second-string theater critics who are reviewing a boring murder mystery.
The imaginary fourth wall that usually separates a theater audience from the play disappears when one of the critics can no longer stand the incessant ringing of an onstage phone and steps into the scene to answer it. From that point, he becomes a character in the play.
The other critic, attempting to follow the first into the world of the play, also becomes a character within the play. Meanwhile, all the original characters of the play have shifted and become other characters.
“The Real Inspector Hound” is directed by NIU faculty member Ryan Massie, a graduate of the School of Theatre and Dance MFA in acting program. Nick Brant, sophomore BFA in acting major, said Massie wanted to explore how identity drives the perception of the play.
“Ryan is attempting to push the realism of each character while … each character keeps retracing their steps back to their [real] identity,” Bryant said.
Mitchell Martin, senior BFA in acting candidate who plays Moon, said the audience will have difficulty if they try not to laugh.
“I think that ‘The Real Inspector Hound’ is something that the audience is not really used to,” Martin said. “It pulls you in all different directions.”
“The Real Inspector Hound” runs Thursday, April 18, through Sunday, April 21, in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre on the DeKalb campus. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. General admission tickets are $8 and available only at the door one hour before curtain.