February 17, 2006
Posted online February 24, 2006
Guest director brings special talents to
By Vincent Rhomberg
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University
Carbondale theater department's production of "Noises
Off" is getting the one-two punch from special guest
director, Richard Raether.
Raether, who received his bachelor's degree from SIUC in
1976, loves to fight. Not barroom brawls, mind you, but the sort
you see on stage and in movies. He fell in love with stage combat
the first time he picked up a rapier in a class, and quickly
became one of the first Society of American Fight Directors
certified teachers, attaining the status of Fight Master in 1988,
one of only 10 in the country.
"Noises Off," written by Michael Frayn (who also
penned the popular "Copenhagen"), runs Wednesday, Feb.
22, through Sunday, Feb. 26, in the McLeod Theater in the
The play, which opened in London in 1982, received the Evening
Standard Award and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy.
The New York production received a Tony Award nomination when it
opened to smash reviews in 1983.
"Noises Off" tells the story of a group of seedy
actors trying to mount a new comedy, called "Nothing
On," intended for the West End Theater District in London.
Through the course of rehearsals and performances, decaying
relationships, bitter romances and back-stage bickering find
their way to the stage and into the play they are presenting.
As a fight director, Raether brought the talents of his
well-trimmed six-foot frame to such well-known theaters as the
Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Roundabout in New York City,
The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and The Guthrie Theater In
Minneapolis. He also staged fights for such television shows as
"The Guiding Light", "One Life to Live" and
"All My Children."
In addition to his love for stage combat, Raether also
teaches, acts and directs. He taught at the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Carnegie Mellon University, Southern
Methodist University and at 11 annual SAFD National Stage Combat
He also served as artistic director at New American Theater
and is the artistic director of Artists' Ensemble, a small
professional theater in residence at Rockford College.
The play performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 through Feb. 25 and at
2 p.m. Feb. 26. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and
$6 for students and are available by calling the box office at
618/453-3001 between noon and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Tickets can also be purchased for each performance one hour
before the performance begins.
A special pre-show lecture about the play and playwright is
set for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, in the Christian H. Moe
Laboratory Theater. The pre-show lecture is free to the
Coordinating and expanding major cultural outreach programs is
among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through
Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it
approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.