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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Repertory Theatre’s ‘Fever’ brings the heat

    Michelle A. Monroe
    Michelle A. Monroe / Arizona Daily Wildcat Michelle Luz, an acting senior, plays Myra Arundel who tries to steal David Bliss, played by acting senior Joe Hubbard, from his wife Judith Bliss, played by acting senior Megan Davis. Hay Fever opens on Oct. 12.

    Arizona Repertory Theatre’s “Hay Fever” is one of the most absurd plays to be found anywhere. That’s exactly what makes it a must-see.

    “Hay Fever” is all about the overdramatic Bliss family and one of the most insane weekends a person could imagine being a part of. The centerpiece, and arguably the instigator of most of the theatrics, is Judith Bliss, played by the exceedingly talented Megan Davis.

    Judith is a retired stage actress who longs to live in the shows she puts on, so instead she brings the shows to her life. Everything is a hammed up act with her, and it’s neigh impossible to tell what feelings of hers are real and which are fabricated.

    Her two children, Sorel and Simon, played by Georgia Harrison and Taylor Rascher respectively, reflect their mother like two parts of the same mirror. That is to say, Harrison played Sorel with all of Judith’s wit and Rascher’s Simon had all of Judith’s energy. Both traits were ratcheted up to the maximum to hilarious effect.

    The father, David, is a writer who spends much of his time working in his study. While this removes him from much of the play, that didn’t stop Joe Hubbard from playing him every bit as quick and excitable as the rest of his family.

    The chaos the show is based around begins as all four members of the Bliss family realize they’ve each invited a guest to stay the weekend. This creates plenty of initial tension, which provides for some amusing banter, especially between the family and their housekeeper Clara, played by Lauren Miller.

    Clara is the only character who is allowed to stay grounded throughout the show, making her appearances breathers from the fast pace the rest of the show holds.

    Regardless, when the guests show up, the situation escalates rapidly, especially since it seems all the guests were invited over for romantic purposes. Judith invites over a young boxer named Sandy Tyrell, who is played by Owen Virgin, while Sorel is seeking something with a mild-mannered diplomat named Richard Greatham, played by Chris Karl.

    Myra Arundel, an older socialite played by Michelle Luz, is intended to come visit Simon, but obviously wants nothing to do with him from the get-go, and Jackie Coryton, a young flapper played by Caitlin Stegemoller, never really gets a good reason for being there, other than visiting David.

    Soon after everyone arrives, it becomes apparent that the initial pairs won’t stay that way for long. People swap partners and, in a fashion befitting the veiled intentions of the Bliss family, it’s never really clear what anyone wants out of the weekend.

    All the actors who play the Bliss’ guests are talented too, and play their characters as believably as possible considering their strange situation. While their roles are more reigned in, they’re just as much a part of the comedy as the others. Plus, they answer the age old question of what life would be like if one’s life was a play — and the answer is horrible.

    That sort of play within a play is what makes the show so complex and unique, and the writing is of a very highbrow nature. That might mean “Hay Fever”’s brand of comedy isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly worth it to see for one’s self.

    Fans of more intelligent, situational comedy will be in for a night full of laughter thanks to the cast of “Hay Fever.”

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