The story was cliché. The set comprised of 2 couches, a bean bag, a desk and chair, a flower vase and a table , three hanging lights and four doors that supposedly led to different rooms in the house- it was the same scene throughout the 2.5 hours- no curtains, no lighting changes. (Well, the color of the flowers changed often). There were no costume changes for 5 out of the 6 actors. So was there anything special about it? Or any reason why the audience as one would proclaim the play as the best comedy of the season and give the crew a long standing ovation?
I loved the play, I laughed non- stop along with the rest of the crowd but it really takes some introspection to figure out what were the ingredients of it’s success really. It was unlike all other ones I had loved so far! It was the script, acting and dialogue delivery all throughout and really the only components the play ever had.
Boeing Boeing is a story about Bernard, an American settled in Paris who has his blissful life all figured out. He claims he has all the joys of marriage without the fading of excitement or the stress of being hen pecked after the exchange of vows. He is simultaneously engaged to three very beautiful and different air hostesses- a chirpy American, an Italian in nationality and in spirit and a very passionate German. The key to his success is in the pages of his book of flight schedules and the women are picked so that they are never in Paris together and quite on different points of the globe.
Act one begins with the American about to leave for her flight after breakfast when Bernard’s semi-bald, nervous single friend, Robert arrives from Wisconsin. Bernard explains how his life works and is very complacent that nothing can go wrong and has a neatly worked out strategy for every unpleasant circumstance that Robert suggested may occur.
The story follows predictable lines...before the end of the night all three women are in the house at the same time, still miraculously out of each other’s sight with different doors opening and closing with clockwork precision. (This is a wonderful thing about plays- there is no room for error). This also keeps the suspense up along with the laughter with the viewer wondering exactly when the anticipated climax was going to occur.
The American is the first to depart with the arrival of a letter. She bids a sad farewell to Bernard that another one of her fiancés settled in the US has earned his target of 1 million dollars and she was going to be married to him. She declares amidst roars of laughter (from the audience) that she has had three fiancés all this time, and why America is such a great country!
The German meanwhile declares her new found love for Robert and guiltily confesses that to Bernard. Before he can feign anger, the baton passes to the Italian who walks into the room and behold the vivid scene. Everything ends well without the Italian being told exactly how long he’d known the German and making it seem to the German that he’d just been engaged to the Italian as well.
It was Bernard’s butler, Berthe who holds the show together with her perpetual complaining of the happenings in the house and her self-adulation of her optimism.
The play was originally written by a French man and directed by an English in 1960s. since thn it has undergone a number of director and actor changes, but this version has apparently been the most successful one yet. Kudos to the crew! Keep the theaters alive!