Whimsy is in the air this week as the University of Memphis and Rhodes College open a pair of singularly odd comedies.
While watching Noël Coward's Hay Fever, it's best to keep in mind that the only meaningful line comes somewhere in Act II when Sorrel, a bratty young bohemian, announces, "We don't, any of us, ever mean anything."
Coward's wicked comedy of manners tells the story of the Bliss family whose members have all invited their romantic interests to come and stay for the weekend. When their potential paramours arrive, the mean, head-game-loving family begins an unusual courtship ritual that leaves the unsuspecting guests with no choice but to run for their lives. It's quite possible that the revelers from Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Show take their cues from Coward's Bliss family, which at times appears to be from another (sexually dysfunctional) planet.
Craig Lucas' Reckless, a much darker affair, is all about Rachel, a cockeyed optimist who finds herself on the lam on Christmas Eve after her husband confesses to having hired a hit man to kill her. Lucas' surreal answer to Candide finds Rachel driving desperately through the streets of Connecticut, hooking up with a social worker and his deaf, mute, wheelchair-bound wife, and taking part in a bizarre game show that's part Family Feud and part Let's Make a Deal.
"Hay Fever" at the University of Memphis' Theater Building Mainstage, February 23rd through 27th. Shows start at 8 p.m. tickets are $10 and $15 (678-2576).
"Reckless" at Rhodes College's McCoy Theatre, February 19th through 27th. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. The final performance will be a matinee on Sunday, February 28th, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students from the community, $7 for senior citizens, and $2 for Rhodes students (843-3839).