Chris Brislin is the General Manager for Gulfshore Playhouse.
Comedy’s secret weapon is the door. Think about it, the simple everyday door can be very funny. How many Kings and Queens do you see opening the front door to their palace? And how many times have you seen our president open the White House door? The prim, proper, and powerful steer clear of these comedy magnets because sometimes the door can be too funny. Our 43rd president learned about the comedic power of a door the hard way. After a news conference in China, George Bush Jr. tried leaving the stage through a door, which after three good pulls, proved to be locked. Being a true American, he did not give up and tried once again to pull on the door with all his might. With no success, he switched strategies and pushed on the door. Not working either, he went back to pulling on it again. Pull and push, push and pull, all while the cameras rolled. He moved the knob to the left and then to the right. He lifted the knob up, he pushed it down, he tried everything. It was funny, going viral in a matter of minutes and still stands as one of his most watched clips after 8 years in the White House. Yes, the door can be very funny. He never tried to open one in public again.
Theatre knows all about the door and its ability to make us laugh. In a comedy, the door can be a hilarious entrance, a pratt fall exit, a sneaky way in, and the always popular door hitting someone unexpectedly. The more doors you add, the funnier it gets! The hero enters through one door while the villain exits through another only to have the police open one in the middle. Star-crossed lovers crisscross the stage in one door while the feuding foes fight out another. Doors play an important role in allowing the comedy to keep moving.
Our newest show, Moon Over Buffalo, uses not one but four doors onstage. Seven hilarious characters shut, break through, sneak out, parade in, fly through, and escape from these four doors while the audience tries to keep up in Ken Ludwig’s hilarious comedy. This is a hit show and while the audiences are on their feet every night, one person is not there to take a much deserved bow – our Technical Director Alex K. This person is responsible for building four of the toughest doors in theatre history. Think about your own front door. Now imagine it being opened then slammed shut 100 times in two hours, two shows a day, 8 shows a week, for 5 long weeks. That’s 4,000 times. Alex knows a thing or two about strong doors. He knows that the knobs can’t turn like real doors. The simple seconds it takes it to turn a normal knob would slow the show way down. He also needs to design strong custom hinges to swing the door fast but have it stop on a dime. Alex and his talented team of carpenters and painters in Gulfshore Playhouse’s scene shop custom build all the sets and props for every show.
Make sure you save some extra applause for the technical team and the four un-credited stars of the show: the doors. Moon Over Buffalo is slamming doors and getting laughs until March 13. Call 1-866-811-411 for tickets or purchase online at http://www. gulfshoreplayhouse.org