HCC Ac­tors Guild per­forms clas­sic “A Flea in Her Ear”

Play is widely re­garded as great­est farce of all time


Spe­cial from the Bar­gaineer

— The Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege Ac­tors Guild is per­form­ing the clas­sic farce “A Flea in Her Ear,” a pop­u­lar, his­toric play that is con­sid­ered by many to be one of the great­est farces of all time, even com­pared to the work of Wil­liam Shake­speare.

Orig­i­nally writ­ten by Ge­orges Fey­deau and later trans­lated into a mod­ern text by David Ives, the 1907 play is a com­edy of er­rors in which mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion and misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion re­sult in chaotic laugh­ter.

“It’s widely re­garded as one of the best farces of all time,” said Ben Fisler, a theatre pro­fes­sor at HCC. “Many re­gard it as the best Euro­pean farce of all time.”


Fisler said he pro­posed the play to the HCC Ac­tors Guild be­cause of its his­toric rep­u­ta­tion and be­cause it’s just a funny play. Not­ing that Ives wrote the transla- tion, he said, “We’ve al­ways found him to be very, very fun.”

“This one should be very funny, but like clas­sic funny,” Fisler said. “We were look­ing for an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to do clas­sic com­edy.”

What dif­fer­en­ti­ates “com­edy” and “clas­sic com­edy?”

With a clas­sic com­edy, “usu­ally it in­volves mis­taken iden­ti­ties, mes­sages not be­ing un­der­stood, and a lot of play­ful in­nu­en­dos and mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions,” Fisler said. “At its core, it’s got two peo­ple in love, and they go through a series of mis­ad­ven­tures and end up get­ting back to­gether.

“You’ve got a hus­band and a wife, Vic­tor and Ra­mone, and they used to be very much in love, and they were bliss­fully in love,” Fisler con­tin­ued. “But lately, Vic­tor’s been kind of dis­tant, and Ra­mone sus­pects he’s hav­ing an af­fair.

“But what’s re­ally go­ing on is that Vic­tor has a med­i­cal prob­lem and is too em­bar­rassed to talk about it.”

Ra­mone pro­ceeds to set up an elab­o­rate scheme to catch Vic­tor be­ing un­faith­ful.

“It’s rec­og­niz­able as — if you’ve seen it — one of those ‘how to catch a cheater’ shows,” Fisler said.

She anony­mously sends a provoca­tive let­ter to Vic­tor at work, but Vic­tor gives it to his co­worker, who goes to the ho­tel, where mad­ness en­sures.

“Crazy, crazy, ho­tel room mad­ness,” Fisler said. “At one point, the ho­tel bed is spin­ning and every­one is spin­ning off the bed and spin­ning on the bed.”

Farces don’t al­ways have lessons, but this one does.

“In this case, it’s a smarter farce than oth­ers,” Fisler said. “I think there is a mes­sage. If there is one, the mes­sage of a farce is usu­ally, ‘Stop be­ing so stupid.’ We don’t re­al­ize how dumb we’re be­ing some­times.”

Though “A Flea in Her Ear” is chaotic and silly, there is a les­son to be learned.

“Any psy­chol­o­gist would say to Ra­mone, ‘Talk to Vic­tor! Find out what’s go­ing on,’” Fisler said. “Some­times we do the silly thing and not the smart thing. Re­mem­ber to go to the peo­ple who love you when you have a prob­lem. I don’t think it’s a par­tic­u­larly pro­found mes­sage, but it’s an im­por­tant mes­sage.”

Tick­ets are $12 for adults, $8 for se­niors, and $8 for pa­trons age 17 and younger and are avail­able by vis­it­ing LIVEatHar­fordCC.com, at the HCC Ticket Of­fice in the Ch­e­sa­peake Cen­ter, or by call­ing 443-412-2211. Rea­son­able ac­com­mo­da­tions for a doc­u­mented dis­abil­ity may be re­quested by call­ing Dis­abil­ity Sup­port Ser­vices, 443-412-2402, in ad­vance of par­tic­i­pa­tion. A min­i­mum no­tice of two weeks may be needed to pro­vide some ac­com­mo­da­tions.

The HCC Ac­tors Guild will per­form A Flea in Her Ear on Novem­ber 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 8 PM and Novem­ber 6 and 13 at 3 PM in Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege’s Ch­e­sa­peake The­ater.

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