Venue: The Theatre School, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois
"A Flea in Her Ear" is a play by Georges Feydeau written in 1907, at the height of the Belle Époque.
The play is set in Paris at the turn of the 20th century. Raymonde Chandebise, after years of wedded bliss, begins to doubt the fidelity of her husband, Victor Emmanuel, who has suddenly becomes sexually inactive. Raymonde is unaware that his behaviour is due to a nervous condition. She confides her doubts to her old friend Lucienne, who suggests a trick to test him. They write him a letter, in Lucienne’s handwriting, from a fictitious and anonymous admirer, requesting a rendezvous at the Frisky Puss Hotel on Avenue 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, Antoinette’s jealous husband. 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. 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; Carlos for Lucienne; and Victor Emmanuel to stop Carlos.
Carlos, attempting to kill his wife, 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 Emmanuel, is mistaken for him. Camille loses his palate, and Tournel tries very hard 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.
A maid in the hotel, who may or may not be fooling around with Poche– the drunken owner of the hotel, who also looks exactly like Victor Emmanuel (played by the same actor.)