Classic French farce amuses Diego Rivera audience

(L-R) Genevieve Perdue as Raymonde Chandebise and Tatiana Prue as Lucienne Homenides de Histangua “A Flea in Her Ear” at City College’s Diego Rivera Theatre, Ocean Campus on Saturday, March 14. (Photo by Khaled Sayed)
(L-R) Genevieve Perdue as Raymonde Chandebise and Tatiana Prue as Lucienne Homenides de Histangua “A Flea in Her Ear” at City College’s Diego Rivera Theatre, Ocean Campus on Saturday, March 14. (Photo by Khaled Sayed)

By Michael Burkett

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City College theater arts department presented “A Flea in Her Ear,” a 1907 French farce by Georges Feydeu, adapted by David Ives and directed by John Wilk.

Diego Rivera Theater was about two-thirds full, around 100 or so people. The audience was attentive and comedy relief was provided as they laughed and giggled throughout the performance.

Feydeu crafted a brilliant play

revolving around suspicions, suspected infidelity, and mistaken identity and Ives was equal to the task of adapting Feydeu’s work.

The play unfolds in three acts and starts with a single pair of sus- penders. In Act 1 the suspenders suggest a cheating husband.

Then we are introduced to a myriad of characters with quirky, amusing personalities. Among them is the fiery Spanish Don Carlos Homenides de Histuenga (Robert Ayala) and his wife Lucienne

(Tatiana Prue).

Brad Robertson as Dr. Finache and Dee Wagner as Eugenie “A Flea in Her Ear” at City College’s Diego Rivera Theatre, Ocean Campus on Saturday, March 14. (Photo by Khaled Sayed)
Brad Robertson as Dr. Finache and Dee Wagner as Eugenie “A Flea in Her Ear” at City College’s Diego Rivera Theatre, Ocean Campus on Saturday, March 14. (Photo by Khaled Sayed)

Other characters are Camille (Mark Stockbridge) who is usually not understandable due to a speech impediment and Dr. Finache (Brad Robertson) who seems, through the course of the play, equally at home, at least sexually, with the ladies as well as the men.

There are 17 players in this updated comedy and they all do a brilliant job with a farce that relies heavily on sexual innuendoes, slapstick, and mistaken identities as well as mistaken motives.

Act 2 starts slowly and quickly

devolves into hilarity. There is a revolving bed, an annoying Ameri- can, snippy maid, and exact double of one character’s husband Victor Chandebise (Michael Vetter). The running around, mistaken motives and identities were amusing and caused many a chuckle from the audience.

 “A Flea in Her Ear” at City College’s Diego Rivera Theatre, Ocean Campus on Saturday, March 14. (Photo by Khaled Sayed)
“A Flea in Her Ear” at City College’s Diego Rivera Theatre, Ocean Campus on Saturday, March 14. (Photo by Khaled Sayed)

During the second intermission one audience member observed, “It’s a little over the top, melodra- matic.” said the gentleman, this is not an unfair observation, French farceoftheearlyTwentiethCentury was just this.

While the play was well done, the material was somewhat dated. Imagine watching “Mean Girls” in 3012, the comedy of the movie would probably be lost by that time.

Wilk is an excellent director and the performers did a wonderful job. Worth singling out are Robert Ayala as Don Carlos, Mark Stockbridge as Camille, and Michael

Vetter as Poche/Victor Chandebise. Looking forward to “Legally Blond” in April.

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