The Italian Straw Hat
The Italian Straw Hat was the first play performed by Saddleworth Players at Millgate Arts Centre in October 1973
The play is set in Paris in the middle of the 19th century, on the morning of the day on which Fadinard, a well-to-do bachelor, is to marry Hélène Nonancourt, daughter of a suburban market-gardener. Hélène, together with her cantankerous father and a fleet of eight cabs full of wedding guests, is on her way. Fadinard has ridden ahead to make final arrangements. On the way, his horse has eaten a straw hat hung on a bush. The hat belonged to Anaïs, an ex-girlfriend of Fadinard’s, who has been dallying behind the bush with her lover, Émile. She and Émile have followed Fadinard to his house, and they insist on a replacement hat, explaining that Anaïs’s husband is obsessively jealous and would demand to know the circumstances in which she lost her original hat.
Just as Fadinard rushes out in search of a replacement, Hélène and the wedding-party arrive. Assuming that he is on his way to the ceremony, they get back into their cabs and follow him. Fadinard discovers that finding an identical hat is not as easy as he imagined. His search first takes him to a milliner (Clara), then to an aristocrat (la baronne de Champigny), and then to a bachelor (Achille de Rosalba); on each occasion, the wedding party arrives hot on his heels. The chase ends outside Fadinard’s house when one of the wedding-guests, his old uncle, Vézinet, produces his present, an Italian straw hat identical to the one eaten by the horse: the wedding is saved and the play ends in general celebration.
Cast & Crew