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Hay Fever

a comedy by Noël Coward


Department of Theatre & Drama

Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
February 20-23, 2014


The Story: The Bliss family - mother Judith, a retired actress, her pulp-novelist husband David, and their two adult children, Sorel and Simon – are enjoying their summer home in the English countryside. Life for this bohemian family is filled with theatrics, where reality easily slides into fiction. Unbeknownst to each other, they have each invited a potential romantic interest to join them for the weekend. All sorts of entanglements ensue as their guests try to fit into the whirlwind of this highly imaginative household. As the Bliss’s behavior becomes increasingly outrageous, their guests must decide whether to bask in the exhilarating vitality of their hosts or to escape the madness.

Background: Noël Coward’s works have a style all their own, with quick witty, dialogue, clever construction, glittering characters, and a slight cynicism. All are undeniably entertaining. Based on the weekend parties of one of his acquaintances, Coward penned Hay Fever in three days in 1924. The play debuted at the Ambassador Theatre in London in 1925 to tremendous success. Coward directed a revival of the work in 1933 and another at the National Theatre in 1964, the first time the theatre had revived a work by a living playwright. After Coward’s death, Laurence Olivier recalled: “We remember [Coward’s] talents, the masterliness and the variety of them, his originality, his inventiveness, the protean range of his gifts…he was the most complete master of the stage.” Showcasing Coward’s genius in full force, Hay Fever is a infectious comedy that continues to delight.

Hay Fever image

Illustration by Tristan Eaton.



Artistic Staff

Director Gillian Eaton
Scenic Designer Gary Decker
Mural Design Beth Sandmaier
Costume Designer Lily Parker
Lighting Designer Elizabeth Williams
Sound Designer Henry Reynolds
Music Director Alex Madda
Choreographer Karl Urban
Stage Manager Elana Lantry



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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower