No Sex Please, We're British Opens Friday at Arena Dinner Theatre
In recent years the theatrical offerings from Arena Dinner Theatre have been especially tantalizing, with several new-to-our-area musicals and plenty of straight theatre to satisfy those who don’t need all the singing and dancing. The latest offering, No Sex Please, We’re British, brings laughs and hijinks to the Arena stage. Directing the mayhem is Emily Arata Grillo, no stranger to Fort Wayne theatre audiences. Familiar from her many appearances on stage, she has also directed shows at Weisser Park and Carroll High School. But No Sex Please marks her debut as a director of adult theatre, and she welcomed the opportunity.
“I had expressed interest in directing to the artistic committee when they were selecting this season,” Grillo said. “They offered me this script, and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I’ve been doing theatre at Arena for 15 years and always loved it. Directing there is such a lovely experience, and I’m so happy for this comfortable situation because directing can be stressful. But this has been so comfortable, and I have such a supportive cast. As Leslie Beauchamp always says when she’s welcoming audiences, Arena is built on its volunteers, and our cast members volunteer their time and take it to the next level. They’re so nice and funny and work so hard. I’m just in love with them.”
Having directed young actors in Lion King, Jr. and Aladdin, Jr., the British farce definitely took her in new directions and has provided plenty of laughs along the way.
“It’s a really funny, well-written script,” Grillo said. “Some scripts don’t stand the test of time, but this one does. It’s door-slamming mayhem with eight people in the same house who shouldn’t be in a house together. You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Although a seasoned vet, Grillo did find some aspects of directing her first adult cast a bit overwhelming.
“I was a bit intimidated to direct my friends and peers. Gary Lanier is in the cast, and he’s a theatre staple. I’ve worked with him before, and I found myself thinking ‘Who am I to tell Gary Lanier what to do?’ It can be intimidating, but they’ve all been so gracious about it. Actually my younger brother is in it, and when I give him notes, he definitely gives me a harder time than anyone else.”
No Sex Please, We’re British runs at Arena Dinner Theatre March 10-25. Tickets can be purchased at arenadinnertheatre.org or by calling ArtsTix at 260-422-4226.