Lift your spirits with a little ‘Blithe Spirit’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Lift your spirits with a little ‘Blithe Spirit’

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

photos by Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Jonni Moon rehearses as Edith the maid Tuesday night at the Brewery Arts Center. Proscenium Players, Inc. presents Blithe Spirit, which opens Friday.

The Proscenium Players had to dig deep for “Blithe Spirit,” a Noel Coward comedy that dates from the 1940s. No matter, like wine often improves with age, Coward’s wit is as clever today as it was back then. The story is simple, sort of.

Charles and his second wife, Ruth, are haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira. Medium Madame Arcati tries to help things out by contacting the ghost.

Author Charles and Ruth light-heartedly arrange for local mystic Madame Arcati to give a séance. The unfortunate result is that Charles’ first wife returns from beyond the grave to make his life something of a misery. Ruth too gets increasingly irritated with her supernatural rival, and Arcati is at her wit’s end as to how to sort things out.

Seniors may remember the film version starring the suave Rex Harrison. This production features Sparks English teacher Phil Harriman as Charles.

“Blithe Spirit” opens 8 p.m. Friday night at the Brewery Art Center.

Harriman is joined by Cathylee James, who plays Ruth and former, late wife, Elvira, is played by Beth Peterson. There’s a doctor in the house, Dr. Bradman played by veteran Patrick Hardy and his wife, Mrs. Bradman, acted by Darlene Pearson Bray.

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Then there’s the larger-than-life Madam Arcati performed by Eloise Koenig and Edith, played by Jonni Moon. A small cast, but Coward wrote for quality, not quantity.

The director is Warren Schader, a computer-type at Western Nevada College, who has prepared something special for the show. During intermission and between scenes, the voice of Noel Coward will be heard singing some of his songs.

“Coward wrote ‘Blithe Spirit’ in five days in the early 1940s, and at first it was panned because it made fun of death and ghosts. But it was the most popular British play for many years, until 1970,” Schader said.

One might think that dialogue written all those years ago might not hold up, “but it does. Coward is always a little ahead of the audience; it might take five minutes for a comic line to sink into the audience, but it does.

“We have a fine cast of veterans who have made each role very much their own. The costumes are beautiful and I can promise theatergoers a fine, amusing evening,” Schader said.

Schader has been helped with the production by assistant director Nicole Schader, house manager Carolyn Tate, set designer Rod Hearn and costume mistress Lisa Bommarito. Pat Josten is the producer.

• Sam Bauman is a Nevada Appeal Staff Writer. Contact Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.

If you go

What: “Blithe Spirit”

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22 and Sept. 28-29, and 2 p.m. Sept. 23 and Sept. 30

Where: BAC’s Donald W. Reynolds Theatre, 449 W. King St.

Call: 883-1976