This month the Potomac Theatre Company presents Noel Coward's comedy “Blithe Spirit.” The play premiered in 1941 in London and was adapted into an Oscar-winning 1945 film starring Rex Harrison. The play begins with a séance where novelist Charles Condomine hopes to gather material for his next book. During the séance the medium accidentally summons the spirit of his first wife, Elvira. Charles is the only one who can see her, and she makes things very difficult on Charles' marriage to his second wife, Ruth.
Director Laurie Freed describes Coward's writing as having "very wordy dialogue, jammed packed. There is so much to memorize. The cast has worked very hard. Noel Coward has stood the test of time. This play opened in 1941 in England and has had over 2,000 performances. It was an immediate success. At the time it opened England was deep into World War II. People were craving some entertainment to get their minds off the war. ‘Blithe Spirit’ is a very erudite play with twists and fantasy and the spirit world. It deals with marriage and jealousy but also has lots of laughs."
Laura Andruski enjoys playing her character, Mrs. Violet Bradman, who "for a proper British lady is a bit of a ditz. She is invited to the séance by her husband and wants desperately for it to be real. She wants to be told her fortune and have spooky things happen. ‘Blithe Spirit’ is a delightful play, a supernatural farce. Noel Coward writes wordy and rich characters. I have been having a lot of fun working with this deeply talented cast. "
Charlene Sloan plays Ruth Condomine, the second wife. "She is a haughty British lady who wants things to be in control and in an organized manner. At the séance everything goes crazy and things start to happen that you don't expect. She goes from controlled to unraveled. Farce is realistic people in unpredictable situations. My challenge is to make Ruth seem like a real person and make the audience feel for her and what she is going through. The other acting challenge is there is a character onstage who is a ghost the entire time that only one person can see so we need to pretend we don't see her. As an actor you need to counter your natural intuition and work hard at ignoring her." To achieve her character's British accent Sloan watched a lot of Downton Abbey and Dr. Who.
Caity Brown enjoys playing Edith the maid "because I get to do lots of physical comedy. I think the audience will enjoy the play because it is very funny and not done very often. The audience is in on the joke. Most characters cannot see the ghosts but the audience can see all the action and characters. The cast has put in a lot of hard work and we are excited to get an audience in to participate with us."
David Gross plays Dr. George Bradman whom he describes as "a funny sarcastic man. He is skeptical of the medium but thinks the séance will be fun. " Gross feels the audience will enjoy the show because "it is such a farce; the language is sharp and clever. The play is so fantastic and the audience is in for a good romp."