Eventide Theatre Company Delights With ‘Blithe Spirit’

by Jennifer Sexton-Riley

Have the winter blahs got you wishing for some fun? Look no further.

Laughter and high spirits will take the stage Feb. 1 through 11 as Eventide Theatre Company presents Nöel Coward's comedic gem "Blithe Spirit," an improbable farce in three acts, on the Gertrude Lawrence Stage at the historic Dennis Union Church.

Directed by ETC board member Lynne Johnson, ETC’s 2024 season opener invites the audience into the English country home of Charles Condomine, a remarried widower. An eccentric local medium holds a seance at the request of Charles, a writer grappling with writer’s block. However, the unforeseen consequence of accidentally summoning the spirit of Charles' deceased first wife leads to comical mayhem as the completely unraveled Charles becomes embroiled in a spirited love triangle with the personalities of both his current and deceased wives.

“The play is a brilliantly written comedy with sharp wit and improbable circumstances,” director Johnson said. “I love a well-written, fast-paced comedy that allows both director and actors to play with both the dialogue and the physical comedy components. This play allows for different interpretations of the dialogue, and also lends itself to pushing the buttons of the character choices to give the audience the heightened comedy and laughter they so desire and deserve.”

Coincidentally, Nöel Coward's muse was none other than Gertrude Lawrence, whose portrait hangs above the door of the ETC theater entrance and who lends her name to the theater’s Stage.

“Both Nöel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence played the lead roles in the original staging of this play,” Johnson said. “The spiritual elements of this play are also of interest to me. Perhaps there are more spirits in this theater than we know.”

Following the Sunday performances of Feb. 4 and 11, ticket holders are invited to stay after the performance for a talkback with special guest Susan Ahern, “The Happy Medium.”

“Blithe Spirit” features Madison Mayer as Edith, Rebecca Riley as Ruth, Zack Johnson as Charles, Alex Lucchesi as Dr. Bradman, Liz Argo as Mrs. Bradman, Kathleen Larson Day as Madame Arcati and Shannen Dondo as Elvira. The play is directed by Lynne Johnson with stage manager Kaleigh Mason; production manager Donna Wresinski; set design, construction and special effects by Guy Trudeau; lighting design by Christopher Ostrom; light board operator Vicky Marchant; props design by Priscilla Hurley; music by pianist Pam Wannie; sound design by Toby Wilson and costume design by Amy Canaday.

Tickets are available now at www.eventidearts.org/shows/blithe-spirit/. For more information, visit www.eventidearts.org or email info@eventidearts.org.