‘Hay Fever’ Brings Drama and Hilarity to the McLeod Theater Stage


Catching ‘Hay Fever’ – Students at SIU Carbondale School of Drama and Dance take a break from upcoming production, ‘Hay Fever,’ December 2-5 at the McLeod Theater. From left to right, actors Mitchell Brandon, Carter Reed, Jeremy Osinga, Grace Brown, Amanda Talor, Gillian Corpuz and Aubree Jean. Other actors not represented are Uriel Achilleus and Julia Cicero. (Photo provided)

23 November 2021

‘Hay Fever’ Brings Drama and Hilarity to the McLeod Theater Stage

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Illinois – Prepare to take a trip back in time and discover that not much changed between the family lifestyles of the mid-1920s and a century later when “Hay Fever” arrived on the McLeod stage. Theater in early December.

The four-day production, December 2-5, features students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Theater and Dance within the College of Arts and Media. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m., December 2-4, with a matinee at 2:00 p.m. on December 5.

Tickets are available online at the SIU box office, in person at the McLeod Theater box office or the Banterra Center box office, or by calling 618-453-6000 or 877-725-8547.

The SIU is committed to protecting the community, so all participants must follow current campus and state security protocols in the event of a pandemic and wear masks in shared indoor spaces.

A quiet weekend gone wrong

Written in 1924 by English playwright Noël Coward, the story centers on a hoped-for quiet weekend for novelist David Bliss and his wife, Judith, a retired actress. Drama, misunderstandings, moods and hilarity ensue as the couple’s children, Simon and Sorel, also arrive with guests.

Directing Coward’s play “has been a rewarding journey and experience,” said C. Rion Towery, an MFA graduate candidate in directing. Bringing the fast-paced wacky comedy to life in a way that resonates with audiences young and old today has been a challenge, he said.

“In light of the past two years and what we have all been through due to a global pandemic and the political climate, my vision for ‘Hay fever’ is one of unity,” he said. . “Like the Bliss family, we all play games, whether it’s with our immediate family, friends, those we want to be friends with, or all of the above. My vision is not to divide people, but to try to bring people together by revealing that we all play games. Now more than ever, I think we could all laugh and laugh the hard way. “

Families that play together, stay together

The play “brings each of us to life on stage, to varying degrees, and it’s looking at our own life on stage that invites us, together, to laugh at ourselves,” Towery said.

The production is largely student-led, with the cast, crew, and designers being made up of graduate and undergraduate students. The set, costumes, props and almost everything the audience will see on stage were designed and built, in-house, by students of the theater and dance program, Towery said.

“It’s amazing to see what the students here at SIU are capable of, while also learning and developing in their areas of expertise,” Towery said. “I was fortunate to have an incredible team of young actors, designers and theater practitioners. It was an honor to collaborate with everyone involved in this production, and above all, to learn. Without the many hours of hard work, sweat and tears, shared both in the workshop and in rehearsal, this production would not be possible.


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