How wonderful and humbling the last eight months have been.

As the adage goes, "Dying is easy; comedy is hard." Noises Off sure is. Saying that Michael Frayn's farce requires precision is like saying a fish requires water or Jennifer Lopez requires publicity; the show's very survival rests on the hairbreadth timing of its repartee and comic business. Frayn's work is so tightly structured and its momentum so dizzying that the slightest inappropriate pause can completely knock you out of the show's rhythm, and so I applaud Ghostlight Theatre for not only for tackling the script but often triumphing with it. Dying is easy, comedy is hard, and Noises Off is freakin' hard.

Melissa McBain's drama Altar Call, currently playing at Playcrafters' Barn Theatre, is beautifully unresolved. There are many fine elements in this production - along with some not-so-fine ones - yet I was impressed by McBain's willingness to let the drama linger after its close. She introduces potentially volatile subject matter such as adultery, homosexuality, and the dogmatic elements of scripture, yet doesn't attempt to provide easy answers to the play's complexities.

The time: the present invaded by the past. The setting: sanctuaries in the southwest desert. The play: Altar Call. And the playwright: Melissa McBain, who has appropriated one of the country's most volatile current debates - where the church stands on the subject of homosexuality - as her play's subject.

Preparing for a show in the location the set pieces are constructed, rehearsals held, and technical adjustments made is the easiest way to ensure the fluidity of all theatrical aspects as performance time approaches.

Sean Leary is sticking to basics. The author and producer of the innovative Your Favorite Band believes - despite the unique combinations of film, theatre, and music media used during the performances - that "a good story will always be the key to a successful show. " We'll see whether he followed this maxim and how local audiences respond to his part-live-theatre, part-film show when Your Favorite Band starts a two-week run August 5 at ComedySportz.

Melissa Coulter was thrilled when she was asked to direct a show at Ghostlight Theatre. What she didn't yet know was that the show, Das Barbecü, is actually a musical comedy loosely based on Richard Wagner's four-hour Ring opera, is performed in country-western style, and calls for a fairly large cast of about 15 people.