Comedy opens April 27


Described as a "comedy on many levels," the Adams State College Theatre Production, "A Flea in Her Ear," opens April 27. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 16. Jenna Neilsen, assistant professor of theatre, chose the play because she wanted to do a big, broad comedy on the Main Stage.

"It has been several years since we've had laugh-out-loud comedy on the big stage," Neilsen said. "And in terms of farces, you don't get any better structured than Georges Feydeau." Coupled with the recent adaptation by David Ives, which is easily accessible to the modern ear, you've got a winning combination.

The play centers around Raymonde Chandebise's incorrect belief that her husband is having an affair. She concocts a plan with her friend, Lucienne Homenides de Histangua, to catch her husband...and mayhem commences. As typical to a farce, there is a chain reaction of disastrous but hilarious consequences which include a gun-wielding jealous Spaniard, a cheating French maid, an angry Brit and a bellboy who is an exact double for Monsieur Chandebise. The action crescendos to a dramatic and frantic but satisfyingly happy ending.

Neilsen said the set is the most elaborate she has have directed on, perhaps the most elaborate on the Main Stage since she started teaching at Adams State. It is two complete interiors, with the second act having two levels. The set has to be completely switched out during intermissions, making it an additional designing and building challenge. The show is also set at the turn of the century, 1900, which means some pretty elaborate costumes as well.

The set and costumes of a farce always play prominently in the show. "Comedy is in the timing," Neilsen said, "and there is a lot to time properly in this show." There are over 40 trips up and down the stairs in Act II, a lot of quick costume changes in Act II and III, and probably hundreds of door openings and closings.

Neilsen said there is a lot of broad physical comedy, people falling over, tripping, getting kicked in the butt, and there is a lot of intellectual humor. "The play is rife with innuendo, characters saying one thing but meaning another. And ultimately, it is a love story too."

There are 14 actors playing 15 characters. "The actors are learning what hard work comedy is, and cracking everyone up, including me, in the process," Neilsen added.

The play opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, on the Main Stage and continues nightly on April 28, May 4 and 5. One matinee is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6. For tickets call the Adams State Theatre Box Office at 719-587-8499.