Ladysmith Little Theatre conjures up Coward’s Blithe Spirit

Noel Coward’s most produced comedy, written during the Second World War.

What do you get when you take one socialite novelist and place him in a house with not only his current wife but also the ghost of his first late wife whom only he can see? The answer is a farce that is ripe with comedy and physical humor from beginning to end.

This March, the Ladysmith Little Theatre is conjuring up Blithe Spirit, Noel Coward’s most produced comedy, written during the Second World War.

Featuring a spectacular cast including Greg Heide, Pamela Walker and Pat Zogar, Blithe Spirit is set in the 1930s and tells the story of Charles Condomine (Heide), an upper-class novelist who has invited the eccentric medium Madame Arcati (Zogar) into his home for a seance so he can gather background information for his latest book. He is joined by his second wife Ruth (played by Lynnia Clark) and their friends the Bradmans (played by Bill Young and Mary Lou Reside).

However, Condomine gets more than he bargained for, as director Mort Paul explains.

“In the course of the seance, Arcoti brings back his first wife, Elvira. He’s the only one who can see her, but she haunts both him and his second wife,” he said.

The plot thickens as Arcati cannot seem to undo the deed of awakening the clever and insistent Elvira (Walker) and Condomine is caught in a number of misunderstandings between his current and former wives.

“He’s trying to have the best of both worlds; he’s caught between being very practical and rational on the one hand, and also trying to accommodate this ghost that only he can see,” said Heide. “It’s interesting to see him go from this conservative bit of a cad to where he starts to crumble in front of your eyes … There’s this upper-class snobby English veneer that he has to present to the world, yet underneath, he’s a entirely different person all together.”

The nature of the supernatural and the era in Blithe Spirit has provided a unique challenge for the cast and crew.

Paul says there will be a number of must-see special effects during the play, and the set has been turned on its side to offer a different view of the terrace and living room.

“We’ve tried to give it a sense of the 1930s by making it semi-art-deco and be as true as we can to the play and make it exciting for the audience,” he said. “We have lots of fun and tricks and yet make it all believable — as believable as a ghost story can be.”

In addition to those challenges, Paul, who was asked to step in as director, had a pre-scheduled three-week vacation to take during rehearsals. During that time, assistant director Stephen Lewis stepped up to the plate to run the 10 rehearsals in his stead.

Heide said the role of Charles Condomine has been one of the most complex he has ever played.

Along with some of his co-stars, he has been working since December to get all of the lines down.

“There’s a lot of lines, and I’m probably in the play about 80 per cent of the time,” he said. “The way things are worded and the language itself makes it difficult to memorize it word for word. But pretty much everybody that’s in the play, I know quite well, and that just makes it that much more comfortable being on the stage.”

Completing the cast is 14-year-old Kyra Moore as Edith the maid. Paul says Moore is the only member of the cast he has not worked with in previous productions.

“She’s been very mature and has learned her part well with lots of good energy,” he said.

The Ladysmith Little Theatre production of Blithe Spirit will be presented as true to the original script as possible. Paul says audiences will enjoy its lighthearted humor and physical comedy.

“It’s good old-fashioned fun, and if they go in with that feeling, I’m sure they’re going to have a good time,” he said.

Blithe Spirit runs March 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21 at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30). There will also be two matinee performances at 2 p.m. on March 15 and 22 (doors open at 1:30 p.m.).

Tickets are $20 each for non-members or $18 each for members and groups of 10 or more.

For more information or ticket purchases, visit www.ladysmiththeatre.com or call the box office at 250-924-0658.

 

Just Posted

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

A conceptual rendering of the commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith/June 15 Council Agenda)
Rocky Creek commercial plaza passes public hearing

The proposed plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road would bring commercial activity to Ladysmith’s north end

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

The number of skilled trades workers available is not enough to fill the current construction boom in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Supply of skilled tradespeople can’t keep up to Vancouver Island construction boom

Thousands of positions will be needed by 2030, despite flow of Camosun trades students

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Most Read