Update: The Fourcast would like to give special thanks to the crew of Hay Fever for conceiving and designing the set from scratch.
Walking into Clements to see the Hockaday fall play “Hay Fever,” I expected an enjoyable evening with some light chuckles in store. Walking out, I had tears in my eyes from over an hour of non-stop laughter.
“Hay Fever,” written by English playwright Noël Coward, takes place in the 1920s in a country home in England that belongs to the lovably unlovable Bliss family. Each of the four members of the Bliss family invites someone up for the weekend without knowing the others have invited their own guests, and hilarity ensues as the guests begin to realize just how dysfunctional their hosts are.
Although the play was set to start at 7:30 p.m., the entertainment began about 15 minutes earlier. Jazz music played softly around the room, setting the mood perfectly, and the bright and bubbly emcee, portrayed by sophomore Ruth Carcamo, introduces various acts to the stage, such as talented dancers, singers and pianists.
The introductory fun manages to segway nicely into the actual play, as famous actress Judith Bliss, played to perfection by sophomore Paloma Renteria, dramatically announces that she has retired from the stage.
That’s when the real fun begins, with an emphasis on fun. Each character was played outstandingly – it was hard to believe I was watching my peers onstage and not professional actors. From junior Grace Cai and sophomore Maye McPhail’s hilariously conceited portrayals of Simon and Sorel Bliss to Grace Lowry’s spot-on Scottish accent as the maid Clara, every character was quirky and entertaining and unbelievably funny. Junior Sabrina Sanchez and senior Whitney Middlekauff portray the two female guests flawlessly, and even the smaller roles, like the nonspeaking part of Amy by Cate Ginsberg, added further comedy to already funny situations. And it wasn’t just the Hockadaisies who shone – Cistercian seniors Jonathan Raroque and Corbin Westkaemper were brilliant in their roles alongside Jesuit sophomore Jared Butler.
The set remained the same the entire show, but it was all superbly done. The background really looked like the inside of a country home. The costumes were also well-planned, and made each character truly look like they were in 1920s.
What else can I say, other than that this show excelled beyond my highest expectations? I can’t come up with any more synonyms for “perfect” than I already have. If I could give this show more than five stars, I would.
“Hay Fever” marks Emily Gray’s directorial debut as Hockaday’s new drama teacher. It seems that from here on out, we can only expect greatness from her.