Lyric Arts had a chance to interview Nick Menzhuber, who is performing as Lloyd Dallas in Noises Off. Read on to hear what he has to say about his experience thus far! LA: Where are you originally from?
NM: I grew up in St. Joseph, MN (St. Cloud area). I moved to the cities after college at the University of Minnesota, Morris and now live in Minneapolis.
LA: Why did this particular play interest you?
NM: I made up my mind to audition for this show the moment it was announced. I knew that every role in the show was hilarious and challenging and I knew that I love working at Lyric Arts, so I was immediately sold. Every actor who’s seen Noises Off really, really wants to perform in it because it is so funny and it’s such a collaborative, ensemble-style show. So I’m grateful to Lyric Arts for including it in this season and really thankful that I get to be a part of it; it’s one more show I can check off of my bucket list.
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with Noises Off can you tell us about the show?
NM: Noises Off is a play within a play which follows a theater company through three renditions of Act One in a show called Nothing On: once the night before they open, then during a performance as seen from backstage, and finally a performance at the end of the show’s run which is kind of a disaster. It’s very fast-paced and very funny.
LA: Talk about the character that you play in Noises Off. How have you developed this character?
NM: I play Lloyd Dallas, who is the director of Nothing On, the play within the play. Lloyd is a bit of a jerk; he sees himself as an innocent victim of the stupidity and incompetence of others, and takes no responsibility as the director for any of the problems with his show. As a result, he says terrible things to the cast and crew of Nothing On. It’s a fun sort of character to play around with because he has no filter for meanness between his brain and his mouth. I think everyone’s had times when they’ve felt like really tearing someone apart publicly; most of us restrain ourselves because we are functioning members of society. It’s fun to let loose. It’s like the Woody Allen version of “Hulking out.”
LA: Talk about your fellow cast. How do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
NM: The rest of the cast is really good; this is one of those shows where I look around and don’t see a weak link, so I begin to worry it might be me! It would be hard to pick out one person – everyone’s had me cracking up in rehearsal, and I feel like I’ve got something to learn from each member of the cast. This show is such a team effort – it has to be. If we’re successful, it will be thanks to everybody.
LA: What are some of the most impressive elements of Noises Off?
NM: Technically, the set is very impressive. The show requires a fairly elaborate set that revolves 180 degrees for Act Two. That’s quite a trick, and I think it will be a real treat for the audience.
From a performance standpoint, what I hope will be impressive is the pace and comic timing and just how stuffed with laughs the script is.
LA: For those unfamiliar with a farce, can you explain what it is?
NM: Generally, a farce is not trying to leave you with questions about the human condition. A farce is just trying to make you laugh as much as possible. A lot of times that includes characters behaving in a way that normal people would not. I think Noises Off is especially brilliant in this aspect, because when you’re dealing with actors and directors and such as characters, there’s a different definition of “normal.” Everyone’s a bit “off” in their own way. And as the saying goes, anything can happen in live theater.
LA: Why should people come and take a chance and see Noises Off?
NM: Because this show is expressly designed to be a crowd-pleaser. Hearts will break! Pants will fall! Hijinks will ensue!
LA: What is your favorite theater, movie, and TV comedy?
NM: My favorite theatrical comedy is Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, which some would say doesn’t even qualify as a comedy since it ends badly (sorry, spoilers….but it’s in the title). My favorite movie comedy, hands down, is Ghostbusters. And my favorite TV show is The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
LA: Sum up Noises Off in 3 words?
NM: Funny, funny, funny.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
NM: My day job is in Financial Services. I’m married and have a two-year old son, with a daughter on the way! I enjoy geeky hobbies. I’m a member of Lyric Arts’ Actors Council and Chameleon Theatre Circle’s Board of Directors. My favorite Beatle is George.