The next two samples are from a highly regarded production at the Stratford Festival, Ontario, in 2013.
In the first excerpt, Charles and his late wife Elvira, who has just returned as a spirit, talk about why she has returned and their unresolved life together.
In the second, Charles' living wife, Ruth, has a conversation with Madame Arcati, the medium who inadvertently summoned Elvira from the world beyond. Ruth is very upset about the events of the séance, but Arcati can only think of her clairvoyant triumph.
Madison Lyric Stage will open its 2017 season with the classic comedy by Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit. Its plot revolves around socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles's marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.
Marc Deaton directs this modern classic with a wonderful cast, some new, some returning.
|Charles Condomine||A.J. Lincoln|
|Elvira Condomine, his first wife, a ghostly presence||Allison Waggener|
Ruth Condomine, his second wife
|Madame Arcati, a medium||Jennifer Munro|
|Dr. Bradman, a friend||David Schancupp|
|Mrs. Bradman, his wife||Cindy Bailey|
|Edith, the maid||Chloe Parrington|
We are very glad for the return of A.J. Lincoln, last seen as the Gentleman Caller in The Glass Menagerie. Also returning is Jennifer Munro who appeared as one of the witches in our production of Shakespeare's Macbeth and as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Chloe Parrington is back with us too, last appearing as one of the witches in Macbeth in our 2014 season. Cindy Bailey was mostly recently featured last season in Aaron and Lenny and Friends On the Town.
We look forward to welcoming Allison Waggener, Maureen Gallagher, and David Schancupp, who will make their first acting appearances with Madison Lyric Stage this season.
In 1976, Irving Wardle of the London Times wrote, "Stylistically, it is Coward's masterpiece, his most complete success in imposing his own view of things on the brute facts of existence."
In 2004, Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph wrote, "Blithe Spirit strikes me as being one of Coward's three indisputable comic masterpieces. It is the outrageous frivolity with which Coward treats mortality that makes the piece so bracing."
To whet your appetite for this wonderful play, here are some video samples that capture its unique qualities of charm, poignancy, and great humor.
Just below is the theatrical trailer for the classic 1945 film that starred Rex Harrison and Margaret Rutherford.
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