SALISBURY, MD---When Noel Coward’s Hay Fever first took the stage in 1925, it became one of the hallmarks of social satire in British theatre.
Salisbury University’s Bobbi Biron Theatre Program brings the comedy to the Black Box Theatre from Thursday-Sunday, October 12-15 and 19-22. Curtain is 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. for Sunday performances.
“It’s sort of the grandfather to Seinfeld,” said Communication and Theatre Arts faculty Robert Smith, who directs the play about the family of a 1920s stage actress at the end of her career. “It’s a play where nothing happens, but really, there are a lot of things happening. It’s a comedy of a country weekend gone awry.”
According to Smith, Hay Fever hinted at the cult of celebrity: “You saw a lot of that later in the 20th century, where writers, authors and actors became the point of what’s important and what matters.”
The main character, Judith Bliss, is based on 1920s film star Laurette Taylor. Attending a party at Taylor’s home, Coward was intrigued by the unique mannerisms through which Taylor “entertained” her guests—first by humiliating them, then by uniting them in the enjoyment of that inclusive humiliation.
The London Theatre Guide calls Hay Fever “the king of social farces.” The original production was the fourth play popularized by the playwright/actor, who found stardom with 1924’s The Vortex. A darling of the stage in both London and New York, he also found success in films, later starring in movies including Around the World in 80 Days and The Italian Job.
SU’s production of Hay Fever includes Stephanie Hallgren as Judith Bliss, Lars Ryan as David Bliss, Griffin Jones as Simon Bliss, Jaclyn Walter as Sorel Bliss, Brendon Shain as Sandy, Stephanie Dargan as Jackie, Courtney Taylor as Myra, Andy Lee as Richard and Jennifer Hamm as Clara.
Admission is $10, $8 for seniors during Thursday performances, $12, $10 for seniors during all other performances. SU ID holders receive one ticket free.
For reservations call the SU Box Office at 410-543-6228. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.