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A Flea in Her Ear ( ) is a 1907 play by Georges Feydeau written at the height of the Belle Époque.

Plot

The play is set in Paris at the turn of the century. Raymonde Chandebise, after years of wedded bliss, begins to doubt the fidelity of her husband, Victor Emmanuel, who suddenly has become sexually inactive, unaware that his behavior is due to a nervous condition. She confides her doubts to her old friend Lucienne, who suggests a trick in order to test him. They write him a letter, in Lucienne’s handwriting, from a fictitious and anonymous admirer, requesting a rendezvous at the Hotel Coq d’Or, an establishment with a dubious reputation, but a large and prominent clientele. Raymonde intends to confront her husband there, and she and Lucienne leave to do so.

When Victor Emmanuel receives the letter, however, he has no interest in such an affair and believes the invitation from the mysterious woman was meant for his best friend Tournel, a handsome bachelor. Unknown to Victor Emmanuel, Tournel has his eye on Raymonde and eagerly exits to make the appointment.

Camille, the young nephew of Victor Emmanuel, is overjoyed to have his speech impediment corrected by a new silver palate from Dr. Finache. In celebration, he and the household cook, Antoinette, also hurry to the Hotel Coq d’Or, followed by Etienne, the jealous husband of Antoinette. Dr. Finache decides to go to the hotel in search of his own afternoon rendezvous.

Victor Emmanuel shows the letter to Lucienne’s husband, Carlos Homenides de Histangua, a passionate and violent Spaniard. Carlos recognizes Lucienne’s handwriting and assumes that she is trying to start an affair with Victor Emmanuel. He runs off to the hotel vowing to kill her in revenge. Victor Emmanuel, hoping to prevent the threatened murder, hurries off in pursuit.

The various characters arrive in search of their goals: Finache for fun; Raymonde for Victor Emmanuel; Tournel for Raymonde; Camille with Antoinette, followed by Etienne, who is looking for them both; Carlos for Lucienne; and Victor Emmanuel to stop Carlos.

Carlos, attempting to shoot his wife, violently shoots at anything that moves. Victor Emmanuel sees Raymonde talking with Tournel and believes she is unfaithful. Victor Emmanuel is believed to be insane when Poche, an alcoholic porter at the hotel who is a dead ringer for Victor Emnanuel, is mistaken for him. Camille loses his palate and Tournel tries incessantly to seduce Raymonde.

The confusion persists even after all are reunited again at Victor Emmanuel’s house. Things begin to clear up when Carlos discovers a rough copy of the letter written by Lucienne on Raymonde’s desk, this one in Raymonde’s handwriting. The owner of the hotel comes by to return an article left behind by a member of the household and clears up the confusion between his porter and Victor Emmanuel. Finally, Raymonde tells Victor Emmanuel the cause of her suspicions, and he assures her that he will put an end to her doubts--tonight.

Characters

Victor Emmanuel Chandebise - The faithful husband to Raymonde. He is having emotional issues which lead Raymonde to believe he is cheating on her. He looks remarkably like Poche.

Raymonde Chandebise - Believe her husband VE Chandebise is cheating when she in fact is having an affair with Romain Tournel. Her best friend is Lucienne.

POCHE- A drunken porter of the Hotel Coq d'Or. He looks exactly like VE Chandebise and the two are often confused. He is played by the same actor as Chandebise.

CAMILLE- Nephew to Chandebise. His speech impediment (being unable to pronounce consonants) leads people to lose their patience with him. He does receive help for his impediment from Finache, but promptly loses the palate at the Hotel.

LUCIENNE HOMENIDES DE HISTANGUA- Best friend of Raymonde, wife of Carlos. She introduces Raymonde to the plot to incriminate her husband.

DON CARLOS HOMENIDES DE HISTANGUA- A client of Chandebise and an extremely jealous husband. He carries guns regularly and is not afraid to use them.

ROMAIN TOURNEL-The best friend and business partner of Chandebise, and lover of Raymonde. Chandebise sends him to the Hotel Coq d'Or where he is delighted to find, Raymonde.

DR. FINACHE- The doctor for the Life Insurance Co. that Chandebise and Tournel work for. He is a personal friend of both Chandebise and Cammile. He helps both of them with their issues, and is a frequent patron of the Hotel Coq d'Or.

ETIENNE- The nosy butler of Chandebise. Married to Antionette.

FERRAILLON- The militarous proprietor of the Hotel Coq d'Or. The nephew of Baptistin and husband of Olympe.

OLYMPE- Ex prostitute/wife of Ferraillon.

ANTIONETTE- The cook in the Chandebise home. She is married to Etienne, but is having an affair with Camiile.

EUGENIE- a maid in the hotel, may or may not be fooling around with Poche.

BAPTISTIN- Ferraillon's drunken uncle who he employs.

SHWARZ- A creepy German customer at the hotel. He attempts to seduce Lucienne and Antionette.

Adaptions and performance history

Screen

The BBC broadcast a production of the play on 7 June 1967. It marked the television debut of Anthony Hopkins, playing Étienne Plucheux.

John Mortimer then wrote the screenplay for a 1968 20th Century Fox feature film also directed by Jacques Charon. The cast included Rex Harrison, Rosemary Harris, Louis Jourdan, and Rachel Roberts.

Stage

John Mortimer translated the play for the National Theatre, opening at the Old Vicmarker in 1966. It was directed by Jacques Charon and starred Albert Finney and Geraldine McEwan.

The first American production - an updated translation - occurred in the spring of 1967 at the Loeb Theater, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An English language translation by Barnett Shaw had a brief Broadwaymarker run at the ANTA Playhousemarker in 1969. It was directed by Gower Champion and starred Robert Gerringer and Ruth Kobart.

An adaptation by Jean-Marie Besset and Mark O'Donnell was staged by the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York Citymarker in 1998. Directed by Bill Irwin, it opened on 5 March and ran for 77 performances. The cast included Mark Linn-Baker, Alice Playten, and Richard B. Shull.

An adaptation by David Ives is currently being performed by the Constellation Theatre Company’ at the Source Theater in Washington, DC. It's run time being October 8 – November 8, 2009.

Východočeské divadlo

  • Directed by Lída Engelová. The play had premiere 5th and 6th April 2008 in Eastern Bohemian Theatre, Pardubicemarker. Czech title is Brouk v hlavě.
  • Viktor Emanuel Champsboisy and Bouton .... Jiří Kalužný
  • Camille Champsboisy .... Ladislav Špiner
  • Marcela Champsboisy .... Jindra Janoušková
  • Romain Tournel .... Martin Mejzlík
  • Carlos Homenides de Histangua .... Martin Mňahončák
  • Luisa Homenides de Histangua .... Kristina Jelínková
  • Doktor Finache .... Václav Dušek
  • Étienne .... Radek Žák
  • Yvette .... Martina Sikorová
  • Augustin Ferraillon .... Zdeněk Rumpík
  • Olympe Ferraillon .... Dagmar Novotná
  • Eugenia .... Romana Chvalová
  • Rugby, American customer .... Alexandr Postler
  • Baptistin .... Jindřich Kratochvíl


Městské divadlo

  • Directed by Gustav Skála. The play had premiere at 27th April 1996 in City Theatre, Brnomarker. 143 repeats.
  • Viktor Emanuel Champsboisy and Bouton .... Jiří Dvořák, Petr Štěpán
  • Camille Champsboisy .... Igor Ondříček
  • Marcela Champsboisy .... Jana Musilová
  • Romain Tournel .... Erik Pardus
  • Carlos Homenides de Histangua .... Ladislav Kolář
  • Luisa Homenides de Histangua .... Zdena Herfortová
  • Doktor Finache .... Josef Jurásek
  • Étienne .... Karel Mišurec
  • Yvette .... Markéta Sedláčková, Mária Lalková, Petra Jungmannová
  • Augustin Ferraillon .... Zdeněk Junák
  • Olympe Ferraillon .... Eva Gorčicová
  • Eugenia .... Marcela Dürrová
  • Rugby, American customer .... Tomáš Sagher, Robert Jícha
  • Baptistin .... ???


Divadlo Na Vinohradech



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