Arts & Culture

'Boeing-Boeing' a farcical flight of fancy amid turbulent skies

Debora Schwartz, Cory Schonauer and Sarah Smith, standing, join Christina Fountain, Tony Costa and Katrina Cleave, seated, in âBoeing-Boeingâ™ at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre.
Debora Schwartz, Cory Schonauer and Sarah Smith, standing, join Christina Fountain, Tony Costa and Katrina Cleave, seated, in âBoeing-Boeingâ™ at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre.

The term “layover” takes on a new meaning in the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre’s current production, “Boeing-Boeing.”

The play’s primary thrust is the sex drive of 20-somethings. 

Life is anything but a drag for Bernard, a successful American architect living in Paris who has designed the perfect life for himself. 

Played by the slender, handsome Tony Costa, Bernard is a bachelor who plans to remain unmarried — unbeknownst to his three fiancées, stewardesses of different nationalities who work for three different airlines.

This uplifting play takes off into turbulence caused by Bernard’s cranky housekeeper, Berthe. Marvelously played by Debora Schwartz, she has plenty to grouse about. 

She must prepare meals to satisfy the girlfriends’ specific tastes, change the linens in the often-used beds and cater to the young women, each of whom considers the Parisian apartment to be home. 

All of the young beauties are extremely excitable, enthusiastic and emotional girls in love, or lust. 

Sara Smith plays Gloria, a quirky all-American girl; Katrina Cleave is Gabriella, a hot-blooded Italian; and Christina Fountain is Gretchen, the no-nonsense German. 

Then Bernard’s old college chum from the states — Robert, played by the highly talented Cory Schonauer — shows up unannounced. The unhip Robert is shocked to learn about Bernard’s unconventional love life.

The comings and goings swiftly get bumpy in more ways than one.

Audiences who expect logic should stow that baggage when they come aboard “Boeing-Boeing,” which originally opened in 1960 and became the most frequently performed French play worldwide in 1991. 

The plot of the romantic comedy is charmingly ludicrous, totally fulfilling the classic definition of a farce.

Although French playwright Marc Camoletti’s romantic comedy is set in the City of Lights, “Boeing-Boeing” could be set in any major city. No one dines out on French cuisine or strolls along the Seine. The bachelor and his ladies are content to have meals in the apartment, then hit the sack.

This action takes place in the 1960s, pre-women’s lib. Like most women of their era, the stewardesses just want to snag a good husband and quit working. 

The set portrays the period, with circles as a regular motif. Swirling objects, such as a world globe and a model airplane, symbolize the spinning of lies that keeps the play in motion. 

During a recent performance, director Cynthia Anthony had to be as focused as an air traffic controller, ensuring nearly constant flowing action, smooth landings and the necessary timing to prevent — or create — collisions. Anthony got first-class performances from her outstanding cast.

The men especially employed some fancy footwork, toppling over a beanbag chair and getting tangled in a telephone chord. Schonauer’s physical comedy was sublime. 

In contrast, Cleave was at times upstaged by her fuzzy rabbit slippers, which had ears that lifted and flapped with every step.

No airline can offer the same comfort as the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre, with its roomy chairs on high risers. No need to go through a security check, either.

And instead of watching a dull film, the audience can kick back and enjoy this flight of fancy. 

If you go

'Boeing-Boeing'

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday; through Nov. 9

Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre, 1350 Main St. Cambria

$20, $15 Allied Arts members, $5 students

800-838-3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com

  Comments