Theatre Arts and Dance, Cal State L.A. | Spotlight

‘Red Noses’ spreads laughter in the midst of darkness

A cast of 30 CSULA students to stage Barnes’ 14th-century play at the State Playhouse

Event details

“Red Noses,”
by Peter Barnes

February 25-26 and March 3-4 at 7:30 p.m.
February 27 and March 6 at 2:30 p.m.

State Playhouse, on the Cal State L.A. campus. For campus map or directions: /univ/

Admission is $16 for general, $12 for seniors/students and $8 for CSU students. For tickets, go to /
For details, call (323) 343-4110.


Professor Meredith Greenburg

Assistant Directors:
Undergraduate student Katira Alvarez and MFA student Sharon L. Williams

Stage Manager:
Monet Lake

Scenic Designer:
Guest Artist Aaron Jackson

Lighting Designer:
Professor Anne McMills

Costume Designer:
Professor G. Shizuko Herrera

Additional music written by:
Ben Caron, alumnus

Puppet designed by:
Michelle Zamora, alumna

Group picture of “Red Noses” student-actors at rehearsal.
(Rehearsal photo courtesy of CSULA Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.)

Featuring a troupe of clowns performed by Cal State L.A. student-actors, “Red Noses” is a dark comedy about a priest who finds that laughter eases the fear and suffering during the 1348 Black Plague in France.

Presented by CSULA’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, the production will be staged for two weekends—Feb. 25-27 and Mar. 3-4 and 6—at the State Playhouse on the CSULA campus.

The playwright, Peter Barnes, writes in his forward to the play: “‘Red Noses’ is a letter from a transfigured world, much like ours, where statues come to life and human beings turn to stone. It’s a letter wishing you good thoughts, but chiefly, good feelings.”

Resonating proverbial themes of humanity and religion, the story follows the main character, Father Flote, who discovers that “Heaven’s to be had with (his) humiliation. God wants peacocks not ravens, bright stars, not sad comets, red noses not black death. He wants joy.” As the world crumbles around them, Flote and his band of “red-nosed zanies” go out into the country to spread mirth.

Rehearsal picture of student-actor Christian Patlan as Sonnerie with a red nose.
(Rehearsal photo courtesy of CSULA Department of Theatre Arts and Dance.)

“In CSULA’s production,” said CSULA Professor Meredith Greenburg, the play’s director, “Flote’s followers include a nun who is longing for intimacy, a mute who communicates in the language of bells, a blind juggler and his assistant, a stuttering comic, dancing Siamese twins, joined literaly at the hip, and two blood-thirsty warriors that happen to be gentle artists on the inside.”

She added, “The Church, the flagellants and the corpse-pickers are their enemies; jealous of the attention the Floties receive, until the plague ends. Then a darker time begins—the return to normality.”

The CSULA performers include undergraduate students Andrew Buckman, Rick Cook, Michael Cruz, Roland DeLeon, Christina Estrada, Alyssa Harris, Bekah Hinds, Whitney LaBarge, Sonya Lansdown, Anthony Li, Ritchie Macias, Maribella Magana, Michael Mattice, Patrick McElree, Borna Mohaggadam, Candace Nicholas-Lippman, Marcelo Olivas, Christian Patlan, Mark Peterson, Leve Ross, John Sanger, Daniel Solerzano, Jasmine Sunda, and Ramona Young; and graduate students Giovanni Cecchin, Cynthia DeCure, Michael Nitzani, Ricky Pak, Evan Tamayo and Whitney Tenney.

Written in 1978, and first produced in 1985, “Red Noses” is a recipient of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play.

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