It is said that you do not marry someone you can live with, but rather, you marry the person who you cannot live without. But what if that person is dead?
In Leesville’s fall play, Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, Charles Condomine (David Stamen, senior), a novelist, and his wife Ruth (Morgan Papanestor, senior), invite a psychic to their home to perform a séance expecting that the kooky medium, Madame Arcati (Karley St. Pierre, senior), will be a humorous farce.
While she is humorous, Madame Arcati’s “gifts” are real. In one scene, Madame Arcati leaps and bounds around the room, raising Charles’s former wife, Elvira (Kristi Stout), from the dead.
To begin with, Ruth thinks her husband has gone bonkers. Then, after watching a vase of flowers miraculously float across the room, she accepts that Elvira is indeed haunting her home.
Filled with sharp british wit, a competition between the former wives, one dead, one living, develops. Throughout the play, they fight for ownership of their husband as Charles starts to doubt whether he wants either one.
I have to say Blithe Spirit was a joy to watch. While the quickly spoken British dialect was hard to understand when the play began, the clarity of the lines became easier to understand as actors became more comfortable on stage.
Highlights definitely included the mousy maid (Erica Martin, senior), who scurried along the stage in nerve-racking hysteria as the house became haunted. Also to add to the laughter, was Mrs. Bradman (Georgia Lee, senior), an obnoxious yet tolerated friend of the family.
Perhaps the one actor who stole the show was St. Pierre, who left the audience in hysterics as she went into her “medium trances.”
In one scene after being insulted by Papanestor, St. Pierre leaves the stage in a fit of anger stuffing cucumber sandwiches in her mouth. She eventually falls on the floor leaving one of her many changing wigs out of place.
The technical aspects of Blithe Spirit are in some ways a jest of last year’s dark play, Dracula. Instead of freaking everyone out, the Tech Crew satirized last year’s mechanical bat with a fiber optic “floating ghost.” The set, lighting, and sound was up to par, which can only be expected from the Leesville Tech Department.
Blithe Spirit excelled in showcasing talent across the board from Leesville’s Theater Department, and can only leave audience members anxiously waiting for Pride Production’s presentation of Cinderella in the spring.
A great review! I like your candor and sophistication.