This is Part 3 in a series of interviews with the cast and director of 1st Stage’s production of Noises Off. Meet Matthew Pauli.
Joel: Why did you want to become a member of the cast of Noises Off?
Matt: First, I love farce. I love fast paced comedy. Noises Off is a very strong example of modern farce. Secondly, I wanted to work with this group. I knew Doug Wilder already from a previous show and really wanted to play with him again.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to him?
I play Lloyd Dallas, who is the director of Nothing On. I find his balance of ego and insecurity a little closer to home than I want to admit, but I think that is probably true for most people. Humor comes from our weaknesses.
What is the play about from the point of view of Lloyd Dallas?
All that Lloyd wants is to be able to produce good theater. He can’t seem to control any of his actors, either in Nothing On or his upcoming production of Richard III. I think for my character, the play is about trying to make the best of very flawed circumstances.
What do you admire most about Lloyd and what do you not admire about him?
Lloyd has so many flaws, so many shortcomings. I suppose I admire his dental hygiene.
What did you learn about yourself as an actor while rehearsing and performing this crazy show?
Every time I think I know how to approach working on a show, I find that I learn that I need to approach each show differently. The specific demands of each show require tremendous flexibility as an actor.
What is the nuttiest thing that has happened in rehearsals and on stage?
The whole concept of trying to come up with an organized approach to creating mayhem is a little nutty. There was something very surreal about sitting around a table at the first read-through and just listening as a stage manager read the stage directions of what we would be doing without speaking.
What are you doing to keep up your energy?
I have been trying to eat better and I have been failing utterly to get more sleep. The show itself is keeping my energy up. I love the chance to do the physical comedy.
Which character is so much like you, and why?
That is a tough question. There is something very familiar about every character. I think I can answer that question differently every day and be completely honest every time I change my answer
What line or lines that someone else says is/are your favorite(s) and why?
It is so hard for me to single out specific lines because, to me, farce is so reliant on the whole of the building situation. No one line, or performance, stands alone or even means anything without all the rest. It is the epitome of ensemble theater. That said, there is an exchange where characters confuse the words “tax,” “taps,” and “attacks” as well as “You see,” and ‘WC” that really tickles me. The quick back- and-forth with changing meanings is exactly the sort of silly that I enjoy.
What is the toughest scene for you and which scene is your favorite?
It’s hard to break the show into scenes. Each act has an unrelenting momentum pushing through without stop. Act one is a little tough for me because I never go backstage. I’m out in the audience the entire act, pretending that they aren’t there. It goes against my training to deny the truth that there are people right next to me. Also, the action keeps jumping about with interruptions, so it’s easy to get lost on what lines I’ve already said
Act two, on the other hand, is so much fun. I love all the carefully choreographed chaos.
What are you doing next on the stage after Noises Off closes?
I will be in Rumplestiltskin at Imagination Stage in February. I might be able to squeeze another show in before then, but it is difficult to say. I also help produce Clown Cabaret, which performs December 9th at The Shop at Fort Fringe. It’s original comedy material each performance and we are hoping to expand the way people tend to think about clowning.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Noises Off?
I want them to take away a sense of fun. Also, their coats, hats, and umbrellas. It’s getting pretty cold out there.
Interviews with the cast and director by Joel Markowitz on DCMetroTheaterArts:
Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 1: Director Doug Wilder.
Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 2: Mario Baldessari (Selsdon).
-Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 3: Matthew Pauli (Lloyd).
–Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 4: Kate Karczewski (Poppy).
–Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 5: Blair Bowers (Brooke).