‘Hay Fever’ brings drama and hilarity to the McLeod Theater stage | SIU

CARBONDALE – Get ready to take a trip back in time and find that little has changed between family lifestyles in the mid-1920s and a century later when ‘Hay Fever’ hits the stage at the McLeod Theater early December.

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

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

SIU is committed to protecting the community, so all attendees should follow the current campus and state pandemic security protocols and wear masks in shared indoor spaces.

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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, tantrums and hilarity ensue as the couples’ 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’ve 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 participate in games, whether it’s with our immediate family, our friends, those we want to be friends with, or all of the above. My vision is not to create a division between the people, but to try to bring people together by revealing that we are all playing games. Now more than ever, I believe we could all laugh, and laugh at our own expense.

Families that play together, stay together

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

Students at SIU Carbondale School of Theater and Dance take a break from the upcoming production, “Hay Fever,” Dec. 2-5 at the McLeod Theater. From left, actors Mitchell Brandon, Carter Reed, Jeremy Osinga, Grace Brown, Amanda Talor, Gillian Corpuz and Aubree Jean. Other actors not shown are Uriel Achilleus and Julia Cicero.


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

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

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