Hay Fever

Hay Fever

Hay Fever

Noël Coward

Juliet Hartnett

14 - 21 May 2022


Audition Info
Audition Sat 22 January 2022 7:30pm Foyer

Meet the Bliss family, the hosts from hell. They are theatrical, self-indulgent, self-centred and outrageously funny.

When four week-end guests arrive, each invited by a different member of the family, they become playthings in the Bliss Family’s romantic and theatrical games. However, this is not just a riotous farce, the chaos is underpinned with well-rounded characters and believable family relationships: the bickering brother and sister, the self-dramatising mother and the unbelievably naive ingenue. Laughing at the Blisses you get caught up in a horrid kind of fascination. They seem strangely familiar; aren’t they a bit like the family at Christmas? You can only marvel at the way the bewildered guests deal with each bizarre situation. Published in 1925 this classic comedy is fast and furious, the dialogue crafted by a master of wit. Coward himself wrote: ‘it is considered by many to be my best comedy’. Not a line is superfluous and all are delivered at a pace that is breath-taking. The play is also a milestone in theatrical history. You can hear echoes of Pinter’s offbeat, surreal dialogue years before it was heard on the modern stage. Edward Albee must surely have been influenced by the deliberate exploitation of the weekend guests when he wrote Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Like both these playwrights, Coward does not ignore the cruelty in comedy. However, the sheer normality and decency of the house guests acts as a counterweight to the callous behaviour of the Blisses. This play is nearly a hundred years old and yet it is as fresh and entertaining as anything you may now see at the theatre. There is little plot but the individual characters are all so well drawn you cannot wait to see what happens to them next. This is a perfect summer play, frivolous, entertaining, anarchic. Come and be whirled into madness with the Bliss family and their houseful of hapless guests. Sit back and enjoy the fun. It’s worth it for the frocks!

If you would like to audition, please contact Juliet Hartnett for audition pieces, or to discuss characters or the play. Mobile: 07818800234, landline: 01273628018 or email john_and_juliet@hotmail.com. If I am not immediately available, please text me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Script copies from: Shaun Hughes, mobile: 07971 815883 or email shaun.hughes@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

Characters

Sorel - playing age: nineteen to early 20s. Sister of Simon. She is aware of the family’s failings and wants to be “more normal”. She wants to be the kind of person that takes care of guests. She has invited Richard.

Simon - playing age: nineteen to early 20s. Brother of Sorel. An artist who has a passion for Myra, who he has invited to stay. He is very intense and volatile.

Judith - playing age: late 40s young 50s. Their mother. A successful actress who has retired to the country (for now). She is sensitive about her age and already bored with the country. She has invited Sandy who is a young, attractive admirer. David - playing age: 50s to 60s, depending on who else is cast. Judith’s husband and father to Sorel and Simon. He is a playwright and novelist struggling to finish his latest book. He has invited the very naïve Jackie. His motives are dubious!

Clara - playing age: any age but likely to be 40+. The hard-pressed housekeeper for the Blisses and previously Judith’s dresser. She stands no nonsense from anyone.

Sandy - playing age: twenties to thirties. An attractive, athletic man who has an enormous crush on Judith. He may be a “lamb to the slaughter” but things can change!

Myra - playing age: thirties to early forties. A fan of David’s work. She is a strong, independent, professional woman. She has a reputation as a bit of a “cougar”. Invited by Simon, she has her eyes on David. Richard – playing age: any age from 35 to 60, depending on the other actors’ ages. He is a diplomat, possibly a “silver fox” and a nice man. He is attracted to Sorel at first.

Jackie - playing age: 20s - A very innocent soul with very little experience of life. The Bliss’s are likely to eat her for breakfast. David has invited her but she is not sure why.