On October 1, 2010 the Hilberry Theatre will open its doors for its 48th season with an eccentric, colorful comedy of manners. In Hay Fever, one of Noël Coward’s earlier notable plays, the Bliss family welcomes you to their household for a getaway weekend in their decadent, country home. Watch as every member of this self-absorbed family invites an unsuspecting romantic prospect without informing the others, then laugh as the after-dinner entertainment goes from bohemian casual to “hay fever” crazy.
Hay Fever Director David Magidson creates the idea that the audience is a “guest,” while scenic designer Rudy Schuepbach’s gives the Bliss’s free-spirited home a 1920s look. As guests of the Bliss family, the audience will be able to witness the madness and witty banter that this seemingly middle-class clan dishes out for dinner. “It’s a snapshot in the daily lives of a family in the 1920s. The height of the bohemian era right before the stock market crash,” Magidson notes.
Firmly situated within the “comedy of manners” genre, Hay Fever satirizes the manners of social class as represented by stereotypical characters. Like other comedies in the genre, its plot focuses on love affairs which are secondary to the wit and bawdy dialogue. In fact, Coward stated that the play has “little to no plot and remarkably little action. Its general effectiveness therefore depends on the expert technique from each and every member of the cast.”
The Hilberry’s “expert” cast members include Andrew Papa (Simon Bliss), Sara Hymes (Sorel Bliss), Alan Ball* (David Bliss), Samantha L. Rosentrater (Judith Bliss), Peter C. Prouty (Sandy Tyrel), Lorelei Sturm (Myra Arundel), Christopher R Ellis (Richard Greatham), Carollette Phillips (Jackie Coryton), and Vanessa Sawson (Clara). Production team includes Michael J. Peters (Production Stage Manager), Jacee Rohlck (Technical Director), Jon Weaver (Sound Designer), John Woodland (Costume Designer), Jason Pratt (Lighting Designer), Curtis Green (Props Master), and Nikki Allen, Richard L. Fosbrink, and Robert Lima (Publicity Team).