Set in the 1960s, Marc Camoletti’s classic French farce “Boeing-Boeing” is the story of a bachelor named Bernard who has a flat in Paris and is engaged to three attractive stewardesses who don’t know about each other.
Bernard’s life goes topsy-turvy when his friend Robert comes to visit and all three fiancées happen to be in town at the same time. Robert’s confusion about what to say to each fiancée wreaks havoc in Bernard’s formerly comfortable life.
Jeff Nell directs the Santa Fe Playhouse’s production of “Boeing-Boeing,” the winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, which is presented from February 22 through March 11.
“It’s a trip back in time,” says Nell, an actor and director who had an active career in theater in Pennsylvania before moving to Santa Fe in 2013. “The play offers a French perspective of women in the 1960s when the culture was quite sexist and misogynistic.”
“Boeing-Boeing” is new for Nell, who directed some of the Playhouse’s Benchwarmer plays in 2015 and “The Pillowman” in 2016. “I like to read a play a couple of times to see if it makes me laugh,” Nell adds. “Then I try to see it in detail on stage in my mind. I have to visualize the process.”
Part of the joy of directing, Nell says, is that actors bring their own interpretations to the production. Sometimes their take on a line is much funnier than he had imagined.
Nell hopes audience members will watch “Boeing-Boeing” with an open mind, remembering the time period during which it was written. “This is a play of pure fun,” he says. “It’s light. You can let go of your cares.”