“A Flea in Her Ear,” by Georges Feydeau, reflects many aspects of the “American Pie” movies. The farce contains mistaken identities, confusion and, of course, lots of sexual innuendo.
In the play, Raymonde decides to test her husband’s fidelity by having her friend Lucienne pen an anonymous love note suggesting a rendez-vous at a scandalous hotel. Unfortunately, Lucienne’s husband intercepts the note, and the characters begin to spin a web of confusion as they all converge at the hotel.
This particular production is the directorial debut for Calvin MacLean, head of the theatre department and Clarence Brown Theatre artistic director. MacLean is actually finishing up his first year in Knoxville.
“It is exciting to me to introduce myself as an artist,” MacLean said. “Happy to be back in the rehearsal room.” When asked to describe the show, MacLean responded, “Good old fun!”
The play is filled with memorable moments, many of them centering on a humorous character named Camille (David Alley), who was born with a cleft palate and struggles to pronounce many consonants. While the characters have difficulties understanding him, the audience will not.
“It’s about striking a balance,” Alley said.
While some lines may be difficult, the important facts are clearly conveyed.
One of the more amusing moments occurs when Camille is speaking with a character who has a thick Castilian accent. The mixture of an accent and a speech impediment creates a dynamic sound, but the two characters understand each other perfectly. Other characters, however, do not.
“It sums up how nutty and absurd life is,” MacLean said. “It amuses me immensely.”
At face value, “A Flea in Her Ear” is entertaining. It is full of college humor and is something students will be able to relate to.
“Students will see on stage what they see in their peers,” Alley commented.
He compared the comedy in the show to that of Mel Brooks and “Saturday Night Live.”
There is also an insightful meaning underlying the hysterical romp. MacLean believes that every person has an idiot inside them that they try to hide. At certain moments, the idiot is released and the person is forced to clean up the mess. “Part of human behavior is to make the worst choices imaginable,” he said.
This production unveils its characters’ idiots in a way that the audience might find amusing.
“A Flea in Her Ear” opens April 13 and runs until April 29. The preview of the show is April 12. For ticket information, contact either the CBT Box Office at 865-974-5161 or Tickets Unlimited at 865-656-4444. Keep in mind that because of the nature of the show, it is recommended for adult audiences only.