The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

    ‘A flea in her ear’ promises laughter

    Fresno City College’s theatre department will be premiering its latest production, Georges Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear on March 6.

    Costume designer Debbie Shapazian’s will return to directing for the first time in several years. “I found a script I enjoyed reading and I thought the students would enjoy it, we get a lot of students involved,” Shapazian said, “It’s a nice period piece and I would enjoy doing the costumes.”

    Set in turn of the century Paris, A Flea in Her Ear is a farce about the events following Raymonde Chandebise’s suspicion that her husband is having an affair and the unexpected consequences of her plan to learn the truth.

    The script itself is a recent translation by David Ives, which premiered in 2006 and won the Jefferson Award for best adaptation that year.

    Among her goals, Shapazian stated a desire to raise student involvement in the theatre, a concern that influenced the play’s selection. She said, “I especially liked the fact that it’s a big cast.” She also stated a hope that students would be drawn by the farce’s light-hearted nature. “It’s kind of a downer year so we decided to do fun shows,” Shapazian said, “It’s all comedies this year.” [referring to last semester’s performances, The Importance of Being Earnest and Jack Goes Boating.]

    The show’s production creates a demanding environment. 40 people auditioned for the 14 parts available. Since then, actors have all been hard at work studying: their lines, studying how to walk, talk, and sit, and studying for other classes.

    “They are really devoted. It’s a three unit class but they spend way more time than the three units should be,” said Shapazian. ‘They put in long hours, rehearsing Sunday through Thursday. There’s a lot of sacrifice on their part.”

    In addition to regular rehearsals, the actors are enrolled in a movement class to prepare for the play. Meeting twice a week before rehearsals, the cast learned to physically slip into their characters’ mannerisms’. “It’s a period piece so we have to be careful how they moved and they sat,” said actor Magnus Chhan, “How you carry your hat and cane.” Actor Jochebed Smith added, “Its about getting into the mind set and nature of the show- a farce. It’s very whimsical… The characters seem outlandish but are based in reality.”

    This also helps the actors break out of some habits that form in other genres. ‘This is a farce, movement is bigger,” says Shapazian. She draws the comparison between the precise and deliberate motions of Earnest characters by holding a water bottle carefully, pinky out and Flea’s over the top actions where that same water bottle would be empty long before it made it to the actor’s face.

    “It’s [the movement] really fun. It gives the class a way to bond, get comfortable with each other, and know how your character would move on stage,” according to actor Bridget Manders.

    The women had their own special challenges, as all of their costumes involve a corset.

    Regardless of the long hours, the strict schedules, the repetitive blocking, the constricting corsets and the tangling tails, the actors are enthusiastic about their work. Jochebed Smith said , “You have to find time to do the things you love. This is the thing I love”.

    Story continues below advertisement
    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover

    Comments (0)

    Please be respectful.
    All The Rampage Online Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest