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November 8, 2013

Blinn theatre presents rarely-seen British comedy

‘Star Chamber’ skewers committee meetings, actors in equal measure

Star ChamberNot a fan of pedantic committee meetings? Then the Blinn College – Bryan campus Theatre Department’s production of “Star Chamber” is likely to offer up a good laugh.

The curtain will rise on “Star Chamber at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14-16 at the Blinn Student Center.

“It’s a behind-the-scenes look at actors behaving very badly,” said Blinn – Bryan Theatre Director Greg Wise.

“They think they are doing good things, but all they’re doing is serving themselves. It also brings back everything you hate about committee meetings.”

The play is the second production of the 2013-14 season after “A Piece of My Heart” in October. Admission is free.

“Star Chamber,” written by Noel Coward, was part of a 10-play series titled, “Tonight at 8:30.” The play was performed just once during its original run before Coward, who was inspired by his own experience as president of the Actors’ Orphanage from 1934-56, removed it from the series. It has seldom been seen since, and didn’t make its debut in the United States until 2010.

The fast-paced script focuses on a roundtable discussion during a committee meeting for a charity benefiting destitute actresses. Coward pokes fun at the egocentricity and self-centeredness of the characters, framing the dog as one of the only compassionate characters in the tale.

The play is directed by Jean Daniels and the cast includes Katie Riely, Delvin James, Riley Donato, Braden Baumbach, Chelsea Mansker, Lyndsey Edwards, James Young, Jessica Lafferty, Tyler Everett, T.C. March, Josiah Butso and Cap Watson. Anise Gray serves as stage manager, Christine Ehresman is the light board operator, Andrew Densmore is the sound board operator, Sydney Vaughan and Butso manage the props, Makayla Hickman manages the backstage crew and March, Johnathan Oby and Riely manage the light crew.

“Noel Coward was lauded as the comic of his time and one of the best British writers that ever existed,” Wise said. “He blatantly uses sarcasm to such a degree in his plays you can’t help but love the characters he paints. Who doesn’t love sharp, witty people?”

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