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Theatre / Hay Fever

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Hay Fever is a 1924 comedy of manners written by Noël Coward.

It's a typical weekend for the Bliss family. Aging actress Judith Bliss, her novelist husband David, adult children Sorel and Simon, and long-suffering maid Clara have spent a long hard week tearing out each others' throats and are looking forward to a nice few days of peace and quiet. There's just one problem: each of the Blisses has invited a guest to stay at their manor for the weekend, and neglected to tell the others.


This play provides examples of:

  • Artistic License – Geography:invoked In-universe with David's novel, which has its main character cross the Rue Saint-Honoré directly into the Place de la Concorde. It serves as the catalyst for their final argument, which is the last straw for their beleaugered guests.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Judith is after all a retired stage diva. The end of act II is one big ham-fest for the entire Bliss family, set on by Judith. All the guests are bewildered witnesses to it.
  • My Beloved Smother: Judith.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the final act, Jackie, Myra, Richard and Sandy have decided that enough is enough and that they're all going to leave the Bliss family forever in Sandy's car.
  • Talk About the Weather: Richard and Jackie spend an Overly Long Gag alternating between this and awkward silence at the end of Act I.
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  • Your Cheating Heart: Judith and David are clearly no longer in love with each other and cheat openly, to the point where Judith's guest, Sandy, is her new boyfriend. She even gives Myra her blessing to marry David at one point.

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