Opening night for Boeing Boeing is this Friday at Lyric Arts and we're ready for a fun, fabulous and very French farce! When Boeing-Boeing opened in Paris in 1960 it became French playwright Marc Camoletti's signature hit and ran for a record-breaking 19 years. The original London production, in an adaptation by Beverley Cross, ran for seven years, racking up more than 2,000 performances. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Boeing Boeing as the most performed French play worldwide.
It is interesting to note that the original Broadway production and Paramount film starring Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis didn't tickle quite as many American funny bones in 1965, but perhaps that reflects French and American cultural differences. American playwrights may have appropriated French maids and French windows as farcical devices, but we are a bit reluctant to embrace the French attitude towards sex. Adultery may play a part in an American farce, but it's usually viewed as ultimately unacceptable and must be resolved at the end of the play. In a French farce, adultery is often simply problematic, complicated, or just too expensive. There may be more slamming doors in Noises' Off than in Boeing Boeing, but they're put to a more innocent use. However, in 1965 America was in the midst of a culture war that ended in a sexual revolution. Perhaps a shift in attitude towards sex is reflected in the popularity of the 2008 Broadway revival starring Mark Rylance and Christine Baranski which ran for 279 performances, earned six Tony Award nominations and won for Best Actor and Best Revival. Boeing Boeing now appears regularly at theaters across the U.S and we hope to see you in the seats for this fun and fabulous farce!