Monthly Archives: November 2018

Review No. 1 is in for “Hay Fever” and it is a HIT!



By Kerry Clawson
Beacon Journal/

The Blisses are the most self-absorbed, ill-behaved hosts you’ll ever see. And, boy, are they funny on stage at Western Reserve Playhouse’s production of Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever.”

Leading the way in the local production of this 1925 comedy is Bernadette Hisey as diva Judith Bliss, a retired actress who revels in playing elaborate dramatic games. Her repeated melodramatic behavior is something her two children Simon (Zach Manthey) and Sorel (Rachel Szeles) gamely join in on, presumably to spare themselves from complete boredom in their home in the English countryside.

Directed by Kevin Kelly in his first time at the helm at the playhouse, Hisey, Manthey and Szeles play off each other quite humorously in the opening scene as they openly insult each other as well as each person’s choice for a weekend guest. Each family member, including father David, has invited a member of the opposite sex, unbeknownst to the others.

Manthey and Szeles show us just how spoiled these young adults are as Sorel cries against a wall and the impetuous Simon throws a temper tantrum when each hears that other guests have been invited. Coward has created choice insults in this family banter, including Judith telling Simon that his guest Myra “goes about using sex as a sort of shrimping net.”

Szeles is charming as Sorel, alternating between calling her mother out on her affectations and going along with her egotistical games. The retired Judith still seeks out her adoring public, especially younger men, which Sorel calls undignified.

In this play, nothing much happens, other than the blithe Blisses toying with their unsuspecting guests. These family members are fully aware that they’re bad mannered, but they can’t stop themselves.

We get the feeling the Blisses have played this game many, many times when, as Judith puts on one of her many overly dramatic acts, Simon tells her she’s “being beautiful and sad.”

“But I am beautiful and sad,″ she responded.

The dry humor of “Hay Fever” starts to grow as each Bliss family member couples up with a guest whom he or she hasn’t invited. Novelist father David (Vincent Sarowatz) also gets in on the action later as each family member flirts, is found in a compromising position or makes bold proclamations of love, merely for effect.

Director Kelly adds some fun touches that make the whole premise even more ridiculous, including Hisey’s very married Judith playing footsies with boxer Sandy (Danny Simpson) on the couch. Other put-upon guests are the nervous Jackie (Emmy Cohen), whom Kelly does not choose to dress as a flapper; the worldly Myra (Linda Schneider) and the “diplomatist” Richard (Eric Coublourne).

Rounding out the cast is Susan Wagner as ill-tempered maid Clara, who’s Judith’s former dresser for the theater.

The Blisses are so full of themselves, they force their increasingly uncomfortable guests to play an adverb game in the evening but don’t even notice them sneaking out the next morning, during their zealous family quarrel at the breakfast table.

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or Follow her at @KerryClawsonABJ or

Meet the Cast of our Next $5 Bucks Series! Show is November 18, 2018 @2PM

Auditions announced for our 2019 Season Opener!




Translated by Richard Wilbur

Directed by August Scarpelli



The story takes place in the home of the wealthy Orgon, where Tartuffe—a fraud and a pious imposter—has insinuated himself. He succeeds magnificently in winning the respect and devotion of the head of the house, and then tries to marry his daughter and seduce his wife and scrounge the deed to the property. He nearly gets away with it, but an emissary from King Louis XIV arrives in time to recover the property, free Monsieur Orgon, and haul Tartuffe off to jail. And so his duplicity is finally exposed and punished. But not before the author has mercilessly examined the evil that men can commit in the guise of religious fervor and the dangers that imperil those who would believe only what they choose to believe despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

A sparkling version of one of the great comedies of the French Theater. A resounding success in its production by the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center. “…an astonishingly delightful romp…” —NY Post. “Stylish, bright, saucy.” —NY Journal-American. “…a rollicking evening of grace and fun.” —NY Newsday.


Saturday, November 24th 1pm-3pm

Monday, November 26th 7pm-9pm

Western Reserve Playhouse 3326 Everett Rd, Richfield, OH 44286


Sign up @

A Short prepared speech from Tartuffe or another Moliere piece is recommended but NOT required. Short scenes and speeches will be handed out upon arrival. First come first serve. Come with at least a cursory knowledge of the play, ready to discuss what interests you about this project and any conflicts between December 1st and January 18th.

All roles available.

No equity contracts available at this time.


Performances will be January 18th thru February 2nd at Western Reserve Playhouse

Rehearsals will begin 4-5 weeks prior to performance. Dates and times will depend on Actor’s availability


If you cannot attend the audition dates above you may submit a video audition or discuss other alternatives. Email August directly at for details.

Cast Descriptions:

Character Description
Orgon Head of the house and husband of Elmire, he is blinded by admiration for Tartuffe.
Tartuffe Houseguest of Orgon, hypocritical religious devotee who attempts to seduce Elmire and foil Valère’s romantic quest.
Valère The young romantic lead, who struggles to win the hand of his true love, Orgon’s daughter Mariane.
Madame Pernelle Mother of Orgon; grandmother of Damis and Mariane
Elmire Wife of Orgon, step-mother of Damis and Mariane
Dorine Family housemaid, who tries to help expose Tartuffe and help Valère.
Cléante Brother of Elmire, brother-in-law of Orgon
Mariane Daughter of Orgon, the fiancée of Valère and sister of Damis
Damis Son of Orgon; and brother of Mariane
Laurent Servant of Tartuffe
Flipote Servant of Madame
Monsieur Loyal A bailiff