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‘Boeing-Boeing’ a comedic hit

By Michelle Kim

Section: Arts, Featured

October 25, 2013

One man. Three beautiful women who worship him. Seems like a dream come true, doesn’t it? In “Boeing-Boeing” (written by Marc Camoletti), Bernard, played by Austin Koenigstein ’17, is one such man. Bernard, an American businessman living in Paris, has managed to snag and shag three stewardesses: an American, Gloria (Corrie Legge ’14); an Italian, Gabriella (Lisa Galperin ’14); and a German, Gretchen (Joanna Nix ’14). None of these women, who are all his fiancées, are aware of his polygamous ways because of their different flight schedules. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for us), he and his three fiancées are joined by his sassy French maid Berthe (Kelsey Segaloff ’15) and his awkwardly charming American friend Robert (Ray Trott ’16), who reminded me of Michael Cera.

The first thing that I noticed was the nicely organized and realistic set. From the carefully placed furniture to the cleanly painted walls, the entire set looked like it should have been in an IKEA catalogue. The second thing that I noticed was that the play began quite a few minutes after 8 p.m. I like to be on time. Bernard likes his fiancées to be (and leave) on time, so you would think that the play would be on time. Despite this minor inconvenience, the play was nothing short of a comedic hit.

Right before the actual play began, the audience was treated to an adaptation of the in-flight passenger announcements that precede every flight. While an overhead voice instructed audience members on how to sit, two stage crew members acted out what was being said — it was a cute and creative way to start the show.

The beginning of the play is a little stretched out, but with such an absurd situation to explain, how could it not be? My favorite character of the show is Berthe, who is amazingly sarcastic. Segaloff, who plays Berthe, does an excellent job of speaking in a French accent while making a disgruntled face. Every word she said was dripping in irony. If I recall correctly, it was she who made the audience laugh for the first time. Every word, facial expression or body movement had the entire room convulsing with laughter.

Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of kissing involved in this play; but it wasn’t just friendly kissing like in many of the plays I’ve watched. Whether it be between Bernard and each of his women or between Robert and Gloria (the sex-crazed American), most of the on-stage kisses were pretty intense. A few of the kissing scenes lasted for a considerable number of seconds, leaving the audience to sit there and giggle awkwardly. Perhaps the small audience size was the reason why no one really reacted to the making out that was happening in front of us.

Every character was brilliant in his or her own way. Bernard, the careless but funny player, made an excellent team alongside Berthe and Robert, who both said so many stupid things while trying to cover up for Bernard that I could not help but feel bad that both were even acquaintances of Bernard. I have to give improv credit to Koenigstein, though. When the lights accidentally went off (and stayed off for a minute), he continued his lines and even ad-libbed, “It’s getting a bit dark in here,” in such a natural manner that we were all fooled into thinking that it was written in the original script. Legge, Galperin and Nix are also wonderful actresses; each put her own cultural spin on her character. As the American woman, for example, Legge does a great job acting like a cocky New Yorker who, like her fiancé Bernard, thinks that she is better than everyone else.

I laughed an incredible amount during this show, probably more than I ever have while watching any stage production. “Boeing-Boeing” is a worthwhile play, and I highly encourage Brandeis students to see it. For those whose families are visiting this weekend and have a relatively mature and comfortable relationship with their parents, consider bringing them to the theater for a night of laughter and fun.

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