In the play "Hay Fever" by Noel Coward, playing now through April 22 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the quirky Bliss family has a lovely cottage in the English countryside and each of the four members has invited a special guest for the weekend, but didn't tell anyone else until just before they all arrive. The family members are all eccentric, artistic types who are extremely self-absorbed, especially the mother Judith, played by the amazing comedic star Harriet Harris (Bebe Glazer from "Frazier", his conniving agent). What a delight to see her perform in person in a role that seems to be tailor made for her.
As the guests arrive, the arguing begins. Who will sleep in the Japanese room? Who will get the most attention? It's clearly mother Bliss. She has her hand in all the affairs as couples pair up, separate, and rematch with someone else's guest. The guests do an outstanding job of showing how uncomfortable they are, waiting, and wondering why they ever came. At times, they go along with the craziness, and other times, they are left with confused expressions.