The authentic farce of The Play That Goes Wrong
—By JOSH AUSTIN
According to Mark Bell, farce is a high theatrical art. And he should know: As the director of The Play That Goes Wrong – a raucous new Broadway comedy – he spends his days treating the genre with the respect it deserves.
“What we’re doing is what I call ‘clown,'” says Bell. “Which, I don’t mean ‘circus clown.’ It’s about character comedy. The first thing we’ve done is we’ve found the characters: Who are the people doing this? And their job, really, is to be a slightly exaggerated reflection of who we are as real people.”
The play-within-a-play, which is now in previews at the Lyceum Theatre, opens as the members of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are about to, rather hastily, present a drama called The Murder at Haversham Manor. What follows is a two-act melee of physical, psychological, and (perhaps) sociopathic hijinks as the cast struggles just to get to curtain call.