This February, the Northeastern Department of Theatre presents Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, the classic high comedy about the low behavior of a deliciously malicious ghost.
Blithe Spirit takes place in 1940s England, where Charles and Ruth Condomine host a séance with the eccentric psychic Madame Arcarti. When Charles’ deceased first wife Elvira appears, she merrily sabotages his new marriage in this supernatural celebration of ectoplasmic love.
Blithe Spirit resonated with its audience in wartime England as an escape from the horrors of that conflict. Director Janet Bobcean explains, “When considering which play to select this season, I thought that in this incredibly dysfunctional world, presenting a production that offered its audience laughter and fun was the best choice to make. Surprisingly, when I began the preparation for our production, I found that Coward had written Blithe Spirit in five days during World War II. I find his elegant, sophisticated characters, his use of language and his wit and humor to be tantalizing. I trust that regardless of the issues that plague us in our world, finding respite in comedy is healing and rejuvenating.”
“Blithe Spirit is unlike any other play I have ever worked on. Noël Coward’s language is so poetic and witty. The play is a whimsical escape to another time and place,” says Megan Warshofsky, a third-year Theatre and Business Double Major, who is playing Ruth Condomine.
The production also includes Anna Macek ‘22 as Edith, Ben Harris ‘22 as Charles, Michael Mendez ‘19 as Dr. Bradman, Meredith Lineman ‘21 as Mrs. Bradman, Alexis Mendelsohn ‘21 as Madame Arcati, and Claire Moorer ‘19 as Elvira.
Noël Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays. Many of his works, such as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, in addition to well over a dozen musical theatre works, poetry, several volumes of short stories, the novel Pomp and Circumstance, and a three-volume autobiography. Mr. Coward’s stage and film acting and directing career spanned six decades, during which he starred in many of his own works. At the outbreak of World War II, he volunteered for war work, running the British propaganda office in Paris. He also worked with the Secret Service, seeking to use his influence to persuade the American public and government to help Britain. Mr. Coward won an Academy Honorary Award in 1943 for his naval film drama, In Which We Serve, and was knighted in 1969. Known for his sparkling wit, Coward was also the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond character.
The production team includes faculty director and Associate Professor Janet Bobcean; Desiré Bennett ‘21 as the Assistant Director and Dramaturg; Sam Richert as the Dialect and Movement Director; Scenic Design by guest artist Erik Diaz; Costume Design by Teaching Professor Frances McSherry; Lighting Design by Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor Oliver Wason; Composition and Sound Design by guest artist Dewey Dellay.