HEAR THE LAUGHTER
Terri and Brian Cody are hoping to sell their “One Star Hotel” in the Florida Keys, to the only man who has expressed any interest in buying it, a Mr. Sam Lewis from New York. They are not expecting him for a couple of weeks, and are rather caught off-guard when they receive a phone call informing them that he flew into Miami today, is driving down, and will be arriving this afternoon. Unfortunately, they have so few guests they are afraid that Mr. Lewis will see at once, that the hotel is a bad investment.
You can see where this is leading…it is a farce after all…
So, in order to bolster his interest, they devise a plan to make the hotel appear busier and more prosperous than it actually is. Their staff will masquerade as paying guests, thereby, giving Mr. Lewis the impression that the hotel is overflowing with loyal customers and vacationers.
TERRY. Listen everyone. A Mr. Lewis from New York is arriving this afternoon, and we need tocreate the right impression.
We're gong to convince him that this is a busy, prosperous hotel.
HOPKINS. This I've got to hear.
BRIAN. Well,we are a one star hotel you know.
MAJOR. Jolly good show. How good isthat?
HOPKINS. Well lets put it this way, there's no such thing as a no star hotel.
Their plan has one hitch, their entire staff consists of a maintenance man named Hopkins and a sexy housemaid named Maureen. They plan to tell Mr. Lewis that Mrs. Cody is shopping in Miami, while she plays the role of a wealthy Palm Beach socialite, Mrs. Winthrop-Smythe. Hopkins is to become the Reverend Hopkins and Maureen is to combine the duties of receptionist, maid and room service.
The plot becomes complicated, but there’s always more…
The one paying guest they do have, Major Ponsenby, wants to help out. Maybe he can pose as another potential buyer to drive the price up? He is a retired British army officer, with a penchant for telling tall stories. One story is that he has a twin brother whom he has never seen, who is in fact, an Arab (Just trust me, there is a very logical explanation in the script). Suddenly, an Arab sheik, Abdul El Hajj, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Major, checks into the hotel, stating he is a potential buyer. Their scatterbrained maid, Maureen, is totally inept at the job she’s been asked to do, and can’t seem to remain completely clothed for more than five minutes at a time. It turns out Hopkins has a propensity to drink, and has bottles of booze hidden all over the hotel. And finally, the one other guest they have checking in later today, is Hayley Harrington, a predatory nymphomaniac, affectionately known as “The Barracuda”.
TERRY. I just checked the booing sheets. We have anotherguest checking in today, a real one.
TERRY. Thats the problem. Hayley Harrington
HOPKINS. Oh my God!
BRIAN. Anyone but her. She'll ruin everything.
MAUREEN. Who's Hayley Harringon?
MAJOR. The Barracuda!
TERRY. Let me explain Maureen. Miss Harrington stays here every year, and while she's on vacation she - er- pursues her
MAUREEN. What's wrong with that?
TERRY. Her hobby is men.
MAUREEN. Men? I don't understand.
TERRY. You know how men in the old west used to cut notches on the handle of their guns? Well, she collects men in
much the same way, only she cuts notches on her bedpost if you know what I mean.
MAUREEN. You mean she goes after men - all the time?
MAJOR. She's so used to being on her back, she gets dizzy when she stands up.
BRIAN. Just like the mounties, she always gets her man.
Into this “HOTBED” of intrigue …
Samuel Lewis and his wife, Ashley arrive. He is an extremely moral and upstanding businessman, who expects nothing less from those around him. She is an extremely attractive woman, and is only interested in getting Mr. Lewis into bed. Brian spends the rest of the play trying very hard to please Mr. Lewis, keep the Major/Abdul under control, and stay out of the way of “The Barracuda”. And if that wasn’t enough… - How do the Major, Hopkins and Mr. Lewis end up in the same bed?
SAM. Why were all those people in my room? And who, in heavens name was that woman wih the - er--er, big - er "You
BRIAN. Ah, those. I mean her. Yes.
SAM. Yes what?
BRIAN. Yes she has big, "You know whats."
SAM. I know that. I could hardly miss them. What I want to know is why she was bouncing around in my room with next to
SAM. You know what I mean. I want an explaination.
BRIAN. Well, it's a bit difficult to explain.
BRIAN. You see in this hotel, we try to keep abreast of matters.
SAM. So I see.
BRIAN. You have to understand, she's very patriotic.
SAM. What's that got to do with it?
BRIAN. Well, you see, she's dedicated herself to life, liberty and the happiness of pursuit.
Why is Ashley always losing her clothes? Where do The Barracuda and Abdul fit into all this? (In room 6!) Who really is Abdul El Hajj? When does the real Mrs. Lewis arrive? What more could possibly happen? Much to the horror and chagrin of Mr. Lewis, the real Mrs. Lewis, who can best be described as “a humorless old battle-axe”, does show up. In order to hide his relationship with Ashley from her, he bribes Brian with an offer to purchase the hotel, for more than he was asking, only to get another offer from Abdul.
But this is a Michael Parker Play…
The final twist is yet to come. A show stopping coup-de-theatre, which leaves the audience knowing they’ve been “had”, but not knowing how it was done.
HOPKINS (Age 50-60) The hotel handyman. He is an endearing comic character who continually surprises the audience by producing, throughout the play, bottle after bottle of liquor which he has hidden all over the stage. He guarantees his life-long employment by never fixing anything permanently and is at the heart of most of the visual comic sequences. (A natural comic usually tipsy, occasionally drunk)
TERRI CODY (Age 30-40) While her husband Brian calls himself the hotel manager, it is very apparent that she runs the place. She clearly has to love him very much to be able to put up with his blunders, inefficiencies and disasters. While she is the brains behind the Hotbed Hotel facade, she remains a gentle, loving, loyal wife. (Smart, efficient, competent, yet tender and patient)
BRIAN CODY (Age 35-45) The hotel owner and manager, he is one of life's hopeless incompetents. Meaning well and trying hard, without a mean bone in his body, he somehow always manages to end up with a disaster on his hands. He is not dominated by his wife, but it is just his great good fortune that she is always there to make any decision that needs to be made for him. He is one of life's dreamers who wanders through every day with little understanding of what is going on around him. (Kind, helpful, understanding, naive)
MAJOR PONSENBY (Age 50+) A product of an almost by-gone age, that of the upper class British military officer. He is a total eccentric, but nevertheless a real character who, while changing back and forth into the role of his twin brother, creates hilarious diversions from the main plot, culminating in an extraordinary coup-de-theatre at the final curtain.
As Major Ponsenby: (Eccentric 'to say the least', but with a sparkling dry wit and sense of humor.)
As Abdul El Jajj: (Serious, dour and taciturn)
MAUREEN (Age 18-25) The hotel maid. She really doesn't have a brain in her head. However, she is always bright and cheery, always tries very hard and should appear like a ray of sunshine every time she steps onto the stage. (Young, sexy, pretty, full of energy)
SAM LEWIS (Age 40-60) A New York business man, full of flash and bravado and moral judgment. It is not until the arrival of his wife, late in the play, that we realize his is, in fact, staying in the hotel with his girlfriend. A different Sam then emerges, a fawning, hen-pecked husband, completely dominated by Mrs. Lewis. (Brash, loud, a moral hypocrite)
ASHLEY (Age 30-45) Sam Lewis' girlfriend is glamorous, sexy and a real "looker." Through no fault of her own, her clothes keep disappearing throughout the play. As she wanders in and out wearing only a towel, she is hardly aware of the bedlam going on around her. (Gorgeous, but not cheap or tawdry, with a kind, affectionate nature)
HAYLEY HARRINGTON (Age 30-45) Also known as 'The Barracuda' for her aggressive attitude towards men. She is glamorous and sensuous. Her reputation as a predator has preceded her. Focusing on one male after another, sometimes in a lighthearted, almost frivolous way, she does not let the audience down. If Terri is responsible for the Hotbed of intrigue in the hotel, Hayles is responsible for the literal 'Hot Bed' (Voluptuous, sexy, a determined nymphomaniac)
DOROTHY (Age 45-60) Although it is late in the play when, to the total surprise of the audience, she is introduced as Sam's real wife, her character of 'the old battleaxe' completely dominates the final twenty minutes. After a loose screw in the number of her hotel room door, 6, is dislodged causing it to flip down and become 9 (The Barracuda's room) and she is visited by all Hayley's paramours, she is at the heart of one of the great comic sequences of the play. (Severe, matronly, self-opinionated)
HOTBED HOTEL…IN THE NEWS
“A hilarious comedy that will leave Fawlty Towers looking like a tragedy, Hotbed Hotel is one of Michael Parker’s finest pieces of work.”
Act One/ Cardiff, Wales
“HOTBED HOTEL” promises life, laughter, and sophisticated fun.”
The Deerfield Beach Observer/ Deerfield Beach, Florida
“Hotbed Hotel has the fundamental ingredients of good entertainment that provide frankly unanticipated comedic results. This play will not disappoint you. In fact, it will leave you feeling entertained, amused, and happy you made the trip.”
The Peak/ Vancouver, Canada
“Plenty of laughs, winks, and nudges.”
“The real hotbed hotel is vacant and derelict, a broken dream of an American millionaire, and subsequent Arab owners. The fictitious, hilarious “Hotbed Hotel” is open for business nightly at the Delray Beach Playhouse.”
The Boca Rotan News/ Boca Rotan, Florida
“HOTEL”, is a hotbed of underhanded intrigue.”
“The comedy delivers seamless dialogue and good timing to make it believable and humorous.”
“Comedic moments that are almost too numerous to keep track of and count.”
Iowa Life/ Sioux City, Iowa
“…a laugh-a-minute merry-go-round that leaves audiences screaming with delight.”
Grand Opera House/ Dubuque, Iowa
“…a 'hotbed' of intrigue culminating in a show-stopping coup-de-theatre.”
Paradise Playhouse/ Excelsior, Missouri
“The hot ticket”
The Sun Sentinel/ Fort Lauderdale, Florida
“Hotbed Hotel” leaves viewers tied up in knots.”
The Waterloo Courier/ Waterloo, Iowa