Driftwood Players

"A Flea in Her Ear" Sept. - Oct. 1975

By Georges Feydeau, Directed by Val Pearson

Jim Ball: (Romain Tournel) Tony Daniewicz: (Victor-Emmanuel Chandebise) Janice Wolfe: (Raymonde)

Dick Lane: (Dr. Finache) Shelly Enderle: (Eugenie) Jennifer Sturm: (Antoinette)

Micki Colwell: (Lucienne) Janice Wolfe: (Raymonde) George Bowden: (Camille)

Jennifer Sturm: (Antoinette) Charles Elwell: (Etienne)

Bud Eddy: (Homenides de Histangua) Micki Colwell

Tony Daniewicz, Janice Wolfe, Micki Colwell, Jim Ball

John Wolfe

From The Daily World, September, 1975

Driftwood's 'A Flea in Her Ear' Difficult comedy done well

Entertainment Editor

      If a fast-paced comedy of errors is your cup of tea, you will find it served up with great flavor and style by the Driftwood Players in their 1975-76 season opening play, "A Flea in Her Ear.

     The comedy had its first performance, toasted in champagne, Saturday and will play the next three weekends at the Playhouse in Hoquiam.

     The split-second timing of lines, exits, entrances and action in this farce of Parisian life in 1900 make it , in our opinion, one of the most difficult plays the  Driftwood Players have done. That it came off so well is a tribute to director Valentina Pearson and a hard-working large cast.

      THE WONDER of the leading role played by Tony Daniewicz is not that he did a good job of it, for he is an experienced actor who can be counted upon to do things right --- but that he survived the experience.

      Playing both Victor Emmanuel Chandabise, a well-to-do Paris insurance broker, and his look-alike, a porter in the Pussycat Hotel, he was called upon by the script several times to exit as one person and make an almost immediate entrance through another door in a different costume as a different person.

      One of these exit-entrances we were told, required him to exit upstage, race up the back stairs behind the stage, across the second floor of the building, down the front stairs into the lobby and thence to his entrance line as a different character, changing costumes as he went.

      THAT GIVES you some idea of the carryings-on. All this confusion comes about because Chandebise' wife, played with vivacity and charm by Janice Wolfe, is intent upon finding out if her husband is faithful, and enlists the aid of her friend, played with equal vivacity and charm by Micki Colwell.

      So this friend writes a letter, unsigned, setting up a tryst at the Pussycat Hotel (an establishment with a certain reputation and some ingenious evidence-removing equipment) with Chandebise, a date kept, of course, by his own wife.

      Only he gives the letter to a swinging bachelor friend, played with just the right amount of conceit by Jim Ball. And then the girlfriend's jealous Spanish husband (Bud Eddy) recognizes her writing in the letter, and sets off for the Pussycat to shoot everyone. That's where the beaten-down porter, a dead ringer for Chandebise, shows up.

      THE HILARIOUS and confusing scene in the Pussycat Hotel is further complicated by the presence of Chandebise' secretary and nephew whose speech is handicapped by a cleft palate, played to the hilt by George Bowden for some of the funniest moments of the evening; the flirtatious maid he is trysting with, played delightfully by Jennifer Sturm, and her husband the butler, a suitably-stuffy Charles Elwell...

      And the whip wielding hotel manager, Bill Davis, ferocious as we have never seen him before; and his ex-courtesan wife, played with a red wig and sexy overtones by Marina Zabiaka; and the somewhat-naughty doctor friend of the family, done by Dick Lane with his accustomed comic flair; and the hotel maid, Shelly Enderle, and a drunken servant, Jace Fischer.

      And the resident sex fiend, whom we suspect to have been perhaps Russian in the original play, but who was transformed into Croatian for the comedy purposes of casting -- who else? -- John Erak.

      EVENTUALLY, of course, everything gets straightened out, in tirades of English, Spanish, Croatian and cleft-palate. And it's decidedly worth the trip.

      Others responsible for the play's success include Dorcas Richardson, production manager and stage manager; James Brown, set design; Ron Moody, set construction, and costume designs of Bill Davis and Elsie Reynolds.

     The curtain goes up on the play again at 8:15 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4, 10 and 11, and 17 and 18.

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