A Nazi air raid during World War II may not seem like the perfect creative moment for a writer. But English playwright Noel Coward took advantage of it to pen Blithe Spirit, hailed as one of his most enduring comedies.
Written in just five days, Blithe Spirit is the story of Charles Condomine, a middle-aged novelist busy gathering information for his book. As part of his research, he invites a medium to his house to perform a sance. Unfortunately, the ritual unleashes the ghost of Charles' dead wife, Elvira, who isn't at all pleased that Charles has remarried.
Now she's determined to be with Charles forever, even if that means killing him. Charles and his new wife, Ruth, try unsuccessfully to be rid of Elvira, then enlist the medium's help. But when she admits she doesn't know how to make the ghost go away, Charles does what any man would do: suggests a threesome.
"Coward's characters, though they are certainly narcissistic, are also all too human, which makes it a delightful ride for the audience in terms of being connected to the story," says Jane Page, who's directing Blithe Spirit for Theatreworks.
Described as sexy, funny and somewhat mysterious, Blithe Spirit makes no reference to the war, something Page says represented an important escape from reality at the time.
"It's really for entertainment that's how it was originally designed," she says. "And the idea of defying death and making ghosts mischievous and funny as opposed to frightening and threatening is great fodder for comedy."
Page has worked with theater companies all over the country, including in New York and St. Louis, and her first experience in the Springs has been good thus far.
"[Theatreworks] picked a really exciting and varied season," she says. "The audience is getting to see a classic comedy in a friendly environment, and it's very, very funny."
Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater, 3955 Cragwood Drive
Jan. 31 through Feb. 17; Wednesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m.; Saturday matinees, Feb. 9 and 16, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $12-$22, free for UCCS students; call 262-3232 or visit theatreworkscs.org for more.
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