|Laurel Stoud runs a tight ship as Berthe|
I often find that song lyrics are a great way to succinctly describe situations. So if you asked me, “What is Boeing Boeing about?” I’d be inclined to tell you that it’s a cross between these Beatles lyrics: “All you need is love” and “I am he as you are he as you are me … and we are all together.” If that seems a bit nonsensical, then you’re getting the picture. Boeing Boeing is a madcap farce where anything can happen and often does. People mistake one another’s identity and affections. The play is set in Paris in the Swinging Sixties, baby, and disaster looms behind every swinging door.
In the Farmington Players’ production of Boeing Boeing, Laurel Stroud plays the dour Berthe, Bernard's maid. Laurel describes Berthe as “a fatalist. She has been living and working at this apartment for years and she's seen it all. Although she claims to be ‘a cheerful person at heart,’ keeping up with her latest boss and his three fiancés (and the changing menu) is proving to be too much.” Laurel said that she relates to Berthe and her fatalism: “I've been told I'm an adapter - I figure out how to make the situation work.” But she can also “relate to Robert striking out and looking for adventure, and not being sure he can deal with what he finds.” It’s this combination of playing the hand you are dealt, but remaining optimistic about the future that makes Laurel a great fit for Boeing Boeing. Laurel “fell in love with the show when I saw it in London in 2007. I thought it was a smart farce, as opposed to slapstick or lowbrow humor. Berthe is a great part, and I'm very fortunate to have it.”
While Berthe can be a bit of a Debbie Downer at times, her acerbic wit and sarcasm adds punch to the rollicking hijinks going on all around her. As Laurel says, “the challenge is to represent the ‘these people are crazy’ side of the roller coaster ride we want the audience to go on, while keeping Berthe a sympathetic character.” Laurel knows that audiences will love Boeing Boeing because “we will take them on a ride through a ridiculous situation. They will go back and forth between ‘this is crazy’ and ‘this might work!’ I think people like to see if characters can ‘get away with it’ because it's a departure from real life. I think Love Conquers All is the main theme of the show. It certainly doesn't go out of style.”
Laurel is a long-time Barn member who enjoys cooking, baking, gardening and doing home improvement projects (“I just put in a patio in my backyard!”). She teaches Sunday school at Christ Church in Redford, and works as a clipsheet editor for Lone Buffalo.
Boeing Boeing opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on September 25 and runs through October 10. The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel. Thanks to Cadillac, 50/50 raffle winners will also receive a special prize – a carry-on bag valued at $99 – and become eligible for the grand prize drawing – a $500 travel voucher – on closing night! Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing email@example.com or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.