Woodland Opera House puts the farce in France
A Flea in Her Ear
Here’s a fun vintage French pairing for Sacramentans, highlighting Paris at the turn of the 20th century: For the main course, a viewing of Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris at the Crocker Art Museum—which highlights the City of Light during the years 1880-1910—followed by a light, fluffy, nonsensical dessert of A Flea in Her Ear at the Woodland Opera House, written and set in 1907 Paris.
A Flea in Her Ear is a quintessential French farce, so don’t expect the plot to make any sense, the characters to be believable or the dialogue to ring true. Don’t try and figure out the story of a wife who tries to test her faithful husband with a fake lover’s note, a best friend who’s married to a passionate Spaniard dressed as a matador, a cousin with a speech impediment, a hotel that caters to secret rendezvous, and other madcap characters and silly hijinks. It’s a hopeless and maddening endeavor.
Rather, just give yourself in to the silliness. That’s what the Woodland Opera House does with good results: presenting the slapstick comedy with a cast of local favorites who bring their A-game with hokey humor, sly mugging, silly antics, slamming doors, double takes and even running amok through the audience.
The main male characters include familiar local stage actors with years of experience: Steve Mackay, Roger McDonald, Gil Sebastian and relative newcomer Gabe Avila. And the women who bring a comedic charm include Analise Langford-Clark and Kirsten Meyers.
This is a cast committed to the goal of entertaining the audience, even if it means tackling a kooky script, crazy antics and a story written in 1907 sans modern cultural sensibilities, and which drags on just a tad bit too long. But for most of the ride, it’s a hoot and a holler, complete with fun haute couture costumes and a clever Parisian parlor and hotel set.