“I’m travelling, and I wake up suddenly in the silence before dawn in a strange hotel room, in a poor country where my language isn’t spoken, and I’m shaking and shivering. – Why?”
Opening line of The Fever, by Wallace Shawn
The Fever is an eighty-minute monologue written to be performed in a living room rather than a theatre. Penned by American playwright and actor Wallace Shawn in 1990, it was partly inspired by a trip he took to Latin America in the 1980s. It’s an impassioned appeal that springs from the heart and inquiring mind of an artist asking hard questions about the way of the world through the persona of a curious traveller who, in the hallucinatory throes of a fever, is brought to a striking realization.
For months Shawn only performed this monologue in the living rooms of friends and acquaintances because he felt that what he wanted to say with his play was less likely to be mistaken for mere entertainment in those intimate environments. When he finally took it to the stage in 1991, it won the Obie Award for best new play.
The Fever has since been performed by numerous actors on stages and in living rooms all over the world. In the twenty-first century it remains current and compelling wherever it is presented. Whether or not it changes your mind, you’ll have a hard time not talking about it with your friends and acquaintances afterward.
theatre no. 6 is proud to present Shawn’s 2012 revision of his original script. The Fever was previously produced by theatre no. 6 at Azimuth Theatre’s Living Room Playhouse in 2014.
The Fever (2014): What Critics Said
theatre no. 6 staged a full production of The Feverat the Living Room Playhouse in the spring of 2014. Scroll down to find out what critics had to say about it.
It’s challenging, certainly, to confront an audience with, well, itself, especially in a time when theatre seems desperate to shuffle anyone through the doors: but it’s all very skillfully, unflinchingly executed in this theatre no. 6 production.
Thingelstad’s an actress capable of bridging into the emotions necessary to make so much heady, intellectual ruminating affecting, too—and capable of maintaining interest and pace in a 90-minute solo—using an undercurrent of a sense of realization that seems to make us complicit in her thoughts.
Director Ian Leung finds variety in the approach, too: that chair finds quite a few uses, and though the fourth wall never quite breaks, there are moments when Thingelstad will make and hold eye contact. It’s confrontational, and effective.
Use the e-mail form below to make inquiries or reservations. Check out the FAQ section below for further details, including cost, running time, and the content warning.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
How exactly does this work?
Contact us for a booking, and either Ian Leung or Melissa Thingelstad (depending on your preference and our availability) will come and perform The Fever in a space of your choosing.
Can I schedule a performance for any time of day?
Any time between 10:00 am and 2:00 am. But if you need something earlier or later, we’ll do our best to accommodate that.
Can I book for a venue outside my home?
Conference hall. Church basement. Classroom. Fundraiser. You name it. Fees may change depending on the nature of the event and the size of the venue. Contact us and we’ll negotiate something that works for everyone.
How much does it cost?
We’re not quite ready to announce this yet. Keep checking back for updates, or join our e-mail list to be notified as soon as that information is made public.
Do I need to provide anything?
You don’t need to make a stage of any kind. All you really need to provide is something comfortable on which the performer can sit for the duration of the monologue. If you have an armchair in your living room, you’re set. A seat at your dining room table will also do the trick. Depending on how much room there is by the chair, the performer may get up and move around it during the performance, but they don’t have to. In short, they’ll work with whatever space you’ve got.
We do advise that you make sure the chair is placed so that everyone can see the performer’s face. And that everyone is also seated comfortably. Beyond that, the only other thing you might provide is a bottle or a tall glass of water. 80 minutes is a long time to talk.
How long is The Fever?
The monologue lasts about 80 minutes, so make sure you allow for that in planning your evening, whether you want to put The Fever at its centre, or make it part of a series of events. We also request you plan for the performer to arrive at your home at least fifteen minutes before the performance in order to familiarize themselves with the chair and the room in which they’ll be giving the monologue.
When can I book?
We’ll be taking bookings starting very soon. Keep checking back! Or join our e-mail list to have the announcement delivered straight to your in-box.
How long do I have to book ahead?
We request that you book your date at least a week in advance. However, we can sometimes accommodate short-notice bookings. Ask us!
Is The Fever suitable for all ages?
Since it’s inspired in part by Shawn’s reflections on the political situation in certain parts of Latin America in the 1980s, the monologue features a few brief, and on occasion graphic, references to acts of violence. The act of rape is also mentioned. It’s recommended primarily for adults, but socially conscious and politically curious mid-to-late-teenagers should also be capable of appreciating it.
Any other questions?
Drop us a line, we’ll be happy to answer! Call us at 780.803.0161 or use the e-mail form below.