Tickets are now on sale for our next production, and we are truly sending 2018 out with a bang! Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit is a supernatural farce with twists and turns that will keep you guessing--and laughing--all throughout the night. Set in England in the 1930s, the play begins with a séance hosted by Charles Condomine in hopes of inspiration for his latest book. However, things certainly do not go to plan when a kooky psychic conjurs the spirit of his deceased wife, Elvira. Can Charles resist the flirtations of his (literally) spirited wife? Can his present wife subdue her jealousy? Can the inept psychic control the appearance and disappearance of restless souls in other realms? These questions--and more--will be answered in November. Check out our poster below for more details!
Fortunately, you don't have to wait until November to find out what's happening behind the scenes with this production! Blithe Spirit is in the incredibly capable hands of director Shelly Cary, who I have deemed our queen of comedy. You may remember her from our outreach performances, where she is often seen onstage, or from her successful direction over the years. Most recently, she directed last summer's smash hit, Foolish Fish Girls and the Pearl, and her other great directorial successes with the Bobcats include Don't Dress For Dinner and The Foursome. Last week, I was able to sit down with Shelly for her insight on this production and I'm delighted to share what I learned from her with you. (Full disclosure: Shelly and I are great friends, and I am playing Elvira in the show.)
Casey: There's so much to talk about! What drew you to Blithe Spirit in the first place?
Shelly: Well, I honestly hadn't heard of the show until you told me about it after a board meeting last year. From what you had described, I thought the plot sounded really cool. After reading it, I was really excited by the idea of stretching myself as a director. I enjoy a challenge and, in particular, the technical aspects of this show are incredibly difficult.
C: So can you tell us a little more about the challenges Blithe Spirit presents? What are the strengths?
S: Well, the biggest challenge is keeping it ghostly. Dealing with spirits requires a lot of extra accommodations and these are just things we haven't really done before here. The show is very funny, but it's not campy, so we're working very hard to make it easy for the audience to suspend their disbelief. The biggest strength here is most definitely my cast. I've assembled a really strong team of seasoned performers and it has shown from our first read-through. We have a really good foundation of trust, which is essential in the theatre, and it's bringing out the best in everyone.
C: You've worked with most of the cast before and your daughter, Andrea, is serving as your assistant. What's it like working with family on a show?
S: There are always challenges working with anyone, but with family, it's harder to give the other person notes or deal with differences of opinions. Truly though, the benefits far outweigh those occasional moments of awkwardness. I know this from experience; Andrea choreographed The Foursome for me and basically served as my assistant director when I directed Suite Surrender for the Red Barn Players. I'm fortunate to have a lot of willing helpers on this show, including student directors, but with the grandiose scale of Blithe Spirit, it's a godsend to have my daughter who knows how I work already. We know each others' skill sets inside and out, so her presence is a blessing for my sanity, since this show is a beast to tackle!
C: Aww! So without giving anything away, do you have a favorite part of the play? Is there something in particular that you're looking forward to audiences seeing?
S: The fast exchanges between Charles, Elvira, and Ruth are by far my favorite part of Blithe Spirit--and that is a good portion of the show, honestly. But the moment that I'm waiting for with baited breath is the final scene. I know the audiences are going to be stunned by the fun we have in store for them, and the ending is quite literally showstopping.
C: Why is this show unique for the Bobcat Players and what would you say to encourage audiences to attend?
S: This is the most technically intricate show we have presented to date. The Bobcat Players have done Noel Coward before, and we're practically known for our farces at this point, but it has never been to this degree. Audiences who don't know the show will be really surprised, but even if anyone in the audience has read the show before, I still think they'll be in for a treat just seeing how it's pulled off--reading it is really quite different than seeing it. I guess if I could give our show a tagline, it would be this: "Halloween may be over by the time we open, but the spirit never dies!"
There you have it--an sneak peak into the mind of our fearless directed! Stay tuned for our next Theatre Thursday blog entry featuring a look behind the scenes with the cast. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, which will have lots of fun extras over the next month, and don't forget to buy your tickets!