College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

CofC Theatre to Stage Eccentric Comedy

The Department of Theatre and Dance in the College of Charleston School of the Arts will present Noel Coward’s bizarre comic play, Blithe Spirit.

The story centers on socialite and novelist, Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric clairvoyant and medium, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance. Condomine hopes the séance will help him gather new material for his next book, however the idea backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira. Elvira vies with the novelist’s second wife, Ruth, for attention and tries to disrupt their marriage. Blithe Spirit combines sparkling dialogue, an out-of-this-world medium, and the oddest of love triangles in a witty, slightly deranged romp.

The play was first seen in London’s West End in 1941, creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1,997 performances. It also did well on Broadway later that year, running for 657 performances. Coward adapted the play into a movie production in 1945, starring Rex Harrison, and directed a musical adaptation, “High Spirits,” on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television in the 1950s and 1960s and for radio. And now, College of Charleston theatre professor Evan Parry is directing theatre students in his own rendition of this classic comedy.

Parry describes the play as “incredibly funny, frothy yet intelligent, with jokes to please the most varied audience: silly sight gags, acerbic commentary on marriage and gender roles, and brilliant wordplay.”

College of Charleston Theatre and Dance students comprise the cast: Peter Braxton Spearman as Charles, Ashley Gennarelli as Ruth, Caroline Connell as Elvira, Jessi Vickers as Madame Arcati, Cameron Tubbs and Leah Anderson as Dr. and Mrs. Bradman, and Julia Marks as Edith.

The design and production staff for “Blithe Spirit” includes students William Klein (Scenic Designer), Tessa Silvernale (Costume Designer), as well as Corazon Stegelin (Stage Manager).

DETAILS:  The production will take place from Thursday, February 12 through Tuesday, February 17 at the Emmett Robinson Theatre, housed within the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m, except the show on Sunday, February 15, which will take place at 3:00 p.m. only. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for College of Charleston students, faculty/staff, and senior citizens.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (843) 953-5604 or online. Half-season subscriptions are available.