WT actors are bitten by the farce bug in comedy 'A Flea in Her Ear'

Last Updated by Chip Chandler on
Adam Hainsel, Sophia Johnson and Marlee Wall in "A Flea in Her Ear."
Photo by Chip Chandler

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Hectic, risqué, ridiculous — those are some of the compliments West Texas A&M University actors and a director pay the theater department's latest production.

The actors will stage David Ives' translation of the farce A Flea in Her Ear by French playwright Georges Feydeau in a two-weekend run beginning Feb. 8.

The 1907 Belle Époque play is considered one of the best farces ever written — which translates into a serious workout for the young actors.

"The hecticness, the speed at which we have to move," said star Oakley Farrar, who plays both Victor, a well-to-do husband accused of infidelity by his wife, and Poche, a drunken porter who has no idea what's going on. "It's one of the best experiences of my life to play two different people and to run my weight off every night.

"It's exhausting, but so fun."

In the comedy, Raymonde (played by Marlee Wall) is convinced that Victor is cheating on her.

"They begin having problems in bed because he can't make it happen," Wall said. 

Her suspicions are seemingly confirmed with a pair of Victor's suspenders are sent to him from a notorious hotel of ill repute.

"That's the flea in her ear," Wall said. "She knows for a fact that he's cheating on her — but he's not. He's the most faithful husband in the world, and she's the one potentially having an affair."

Toss in Victor's lookalike, jealous men, nosy people and no end of adultry, and you've got the recipe for a racy comedy.

"It's very risque, but it's a farce, and that's part of it," director Callie Hisek said.

Tournel (Adam Hainsel, from left), Victor (Oakley Farrar) and Dr. Finache (Sean Evan Jones) ponder the meaning of a letter as Lucienne (Sophia Johnson) and Raymonde (Marlee Wall) spy on them in "A Flea in Her Ear."
Photo by Chip Chandler

Realistic characters and their concerns are very much not in the cards, she said.

"They're all two-dimensional, identifying their base needs and just going for it," Hisek said. "It's meant to entertain, to provide laughter."

That's quite all right with the cast.

"I've never done a farce," Wall said. "Instead of thinking and processing, it's immediate reactions.

"'One has to jump to conclusions. How else can one make sense of things?'," she continuned, in character.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 to 10 and Feb. 15 to 17, plus 2:30 p.m. Feb. 18, in the Branding Iron Theatre. 

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and students.

Call 806-651-2804.



Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at Chip.Chandler@actx.edu, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.

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