Noel Coward Comedy Opens Theater-by-the-Grove Season

Posted on 9/18/2012 12:24:55 PM

Theater-by-the-Grove at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will open its 2012-2013 season with the stylish comedyHay Feverby Noel Coward, September 27, 2012.

Performances will continue September 28-29 and October 3-6 at 8:00 p.m. on the Waller Hall Mainstage. There will be a Sunday matinee September 30, at 2:00 p.m.

Hay Fever, set in England, actually has American roots. Noel Coward penned the comedy in just three days after having spent a weekend at the Connecticut home of Broadway actress Lorette Taylor and claimed to have basically written down what went on during his visit.

In his play, Miss Taylor becomes Judith Bliss, a famous English actress recently, and unhappily, retired from the London stage. She and her two grown children, Simon and Sorel, and her writer husband, David, have retreated to their summer house. One Friday afternoon, they find to their chagrin they have each invited a guest for the weekend. As the four guests arrive, the family dynamic spins out of control, and the guests are treated to two days of uninhibited nonsense and a fair amount of disregard.

This production is a special tribute performance to the career of longtime IUP theater professor and professional actor Barb Blackledge. Blackledge, who retired from the department after thirty-one years of service in December of 2012, plays the lead role of Judith Bliss.

Hay Fever 1

Blackledge shares the stage with several of her former students. “It’s not only a fitting tribute to a master teacher, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn the art and craft of acting,” says Brian Jones, theater and dance department chairperson.

Blackledge will be joined by two notable guest professionals with longstanding IUP ties. Retired Indiana High School drama teacher David Tabish will play Judith’s novelist husband, David. Also a professional actor, Tabish has a long list of impressive acting and directing credits.

Directing the production is David Zarko, who directed many Summer Theater-by-the-Grove productions. In the world of professional theater, Zarko has become especially known for writing and directing comedy.

Zarko explained that Hay Fever “is not an easy play to pull off. The comedy is so convoluted and outrageous, much more so than what American actors are used to. But this cast has risen to the challenge, and I think audiences will find the result lots of very good fun.”

“There is unusual depth to the characters in Hay Fever” says Zarko, “but at heart, it's just a rollickingly good time.”

Tickets for Hay Fever are available in advanced online at, by calling 724-357-1313, or at the Hadley Union Building, located on Pratt Drive of the IUP campus. Seats remaining will be sold at the door starting 45 minutes before each performance.

Tickets are priced at $14 for regular admission, $12 for senior citizens and groups of 15 or more, and $8 with an I-Card.

For more information, contact the Lively Arts at 724-357-2547 or e-mail us at

Theater-by-the-Grove is produced by the Department of Theater and Dance and the College of Fine Arts. It is funded, in part, by the IUP Student Cooperative Association.

Pictured above are David Tabish (standing) and Barbara Blackledge.


Theater by the Grove


Hay Fever

September 27, 2012
8:00 p.m.

September 28, 2012
8:00 p.m.

September 29, 2012
8:00 p.m.

September 30, 2012
2:00 p.m.

October 3, 2012
8:00 p.m.

October 4, 2012
8:00 p.m.

October 5, 2012
8:00 p.m.

October 6, 2012
8:00 p.m.

Waller Hall Mainstage, IUP Performing Arts Center

Set in an English country house in the 1920s, this ever-popular play is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the changing social dynamics of modern living. General Admission: $14 Regular/ $12 Discount / $8 I-Card

This event is over.

For more information, visit Hay Fever, e-mail , or call 724-357-2787.