This is Part 7 and our final interview in a series of interviews with the cast and director of 1st Stage’s production of Noises Off. Meet Zachary Fernebok.
Joel: Why did you want to become a member of the cast of Noises Off?
Not only is it the funniest play ever written, it is one of my favorites. My passion for my career as a theatre artist comes from making people laugh. So I didn’t just want to be in this show. I had to.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to him?
My character is Freddy. He’s rather dim-witted, and becomes physically ill around violent acts and faints at the sight of blood. While I do not relate to those aspects of Freddy, I think he and I both approach acting very meticulously, with a lot of time spent creating the back story for our characters. We are also both oblivious to flirting.
What is the play about from the point of view of Freddy?
This is a tricky question, since Noises Off is about actors putting on a play within an actual play. But to keep it simple, I feel that the overall story of the play from Freddy’s point of view is “the show must go on.” Without giving anything away, I think the play Freddy and the gang are performing is the only positive thing he has in his life, so putting on a successful show is his number one goal.
What do you admire most about Freddy and what do you not admire about him?
I admire Freddy’s trust in people, and his sweet nature. He’s a lot like a dog. He gives unconditional love, and is very hurt when it’s not given back. I’m not sure there are any qualities about Freddy that I don’t admire. We all have our flaws, and I accept Freddy’s.
What did you learn about yourself as an actor while rehearsing and performing this crazy show?
Mostly that I am out of shape. And that I can grow a killer mustache. But seriously, I learned that even though I was in a production of Noises Off in college, even playing this same part, I still was able to approach Freddy as an entirely new character that I had no previous history with. The Freddy I played seven years ago is so vastly different from this production’s. I was proud of myself for not falling into old habits. I now think playing the same part twice is a goal every actor should strive for. It’s definitely a learning experience.
What is the nuttiest thing that has happened in rehearsals and on stage?
I’ll answer this question quite literally. During one of our rehearsal runs of Act II, there is a part where I fall on my back with my pants down. However, I forgot to wear appropriate underwear under my show boxers that night, so as I was wriggling around on the ground I was also doing my best not to give anyone any sneak peaks – no matter how much they would have enjoyed it. Yeah, that was pretty nutty.
What are you doing to keep up your energy?
I feed off the energy of the ensemble. It works better than any amount of coffee, and tastes better, too.
What character is so much like you and why?
While I see bits and pieces of myself in each character. The first answer that comes to mind is the director, Lloyd. I relate to his wit and his impatience.
What lines that someone else says are your favorite?
Even though I adore Freddy, I love almost every line spoken by Garry. I think Michael Frayn just wrote an amazing character in him (and is brilliantly performed by Dylan Myers). The character is so finely tuned and consistent -really, they all are. But Garry’s lines just crack me up, without fail. And I don’t want to give any lines away. I want each one to hit like a bullet.
What is the toughest scene for you and which scene is your favorite?
I think the toughest scene is all of Act Three. It’s challenging to remain focused on your objective with everything else that is going on in the play at that point. And my favorite scene is the entirely of Act Two. It’s just a non-stop laugh train that is fueled by the audience.
What are you doing next on the stage after Noises Off closes tomorrow?
I’m primarily a playwright, so while I am not sure when I’ll next be taking the stage physically.. My words will be performed in upcoming productions with The National Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Red Knight Productions, and Flying V–namely The Pirate Laureate and the King of the Sea, the sequel to my play from earlier this year, The Pirate Laureate of Port Town. I am also working on a zombie comedy with songs called Hungry, Hungry Humans. It’s about a zombie outbreak that occurs during the finale of an American Idol-esque reality TV show.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Noises Off?
An appreciation for the arts and the joy they can bring to people of all ages.
Amanda Gunther’s review of Noises Off on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Interviews with the director and cast of Noises Off by Joel Markowitz.
-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).
-Making Some Noise: Behind the Scenes of 1st Stage’s ‘Noises Off’: Part 6: Jason Glass (Tim) by Joel Markowitz.