Finding the Fine Line: Georgia Southern to Perform “Hay Fever”

Images courtesy of Kelly Berry

On Oct. 16, the Georgia Southern theatre department will open its doors for “Hay Fever.” This play will be performed in repertory with “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which opens on Oct. 15. The two shows will then alternate nights until “Hay Fever” hosts its last show on Oct. 26 with “The Importance of Being Earnest”  finishing on Oct. 27.

Associate Professor of Theatre Lisa Abbott is directing “Hay Fever” this season. She said that both Noel Coward, the writer of “Hay Fever,” and Oscar Wilde, the writer of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” are English playwrights. This helped the directors decide which two shows would compliment each other.

“It’s really funny and just crazy,” Abbott said about “Hay Fever.” “It’s about people throwing out the acceptable behaviors, about flirtation and seduction.”

Those involved with the show expect that it will be well-received by the audience because of its humor. 

“It was set in the 1920s, which, even outside America, was still the ‘Roaring 20s,’” Abbott said. “It is the beginning of the jazz age. Attitudes and behaviors for women were changing…the fashion styles are more androgynous for women, and behaviors were not as rigid as they were before.”

Abbott said that the themes of the productions should be relatable for students who see the play. 

“Even though it’s a different period, there’s still this idea of freedom and being able to flaunt the rules,” Abbott said.

The cast is made up of nine students. They have worked on the acting style of this particular play during rehearsals. 

“Watching the actors realize, ‘Oh I can go bigger’ or ‘I can be more outrageous here’ has been fun,” Abbott said.

They have also worked hard to learn the British dialect necessary for this production. 

“This play in particular is also asking them to be very expressive in seduction, so it’s not like playing a sex scene, but they’re seducing each other with looks and words and touches and glances,” Abbott said. 

The actors have practiced getting more comfortable with each other to better play their roles. 

“A big part of acting is trusting who you’re on stage with,” Abbott said. 

Abbott used the words “funny” and “outrageous” to describe the play. She said there is a fine line between funny and mean, and the cast and crew have been working to find that fine line.

Images courtesy of Kelly Berry