The Daily Gamecock

'Blithe Spirit': a comical haunting

<p>'Blithe Spirit' tells the tale of Charles Condomine who invites Madame Arcat over for dinner — Arcat proceeds to conjure up the ghost of his ex wife spelling trouble for Condomine. </p>
'Blithe Spirit' tells the tale of Charles Condomine who invites Madame Arcat over for dinner — Arcat proceeds to conjure up the ghost of his ex wife spelling trouble for Condomine. 

When classifying a play centered on ghosts and haunting ex-wives, comedy as a genre doesn't usually come to mind. Drayton Hall's production of "Blithe Spirit" will transform your preconceived notions of ghosts and comedic entertainment.

Director of "Blithe Spirit" Stan Brown has directed productions for two years now. He has worked with students since he began teaching in 1993 and has directed both student and professional productions during his time at Drayton Hall.

“Stan is just an amazing director and so laid back,” second-year MFA student Ashley Graham said. “He leads us where we need to go, and then he tells us to run in that direction and learn more about it.”

"Blithe Spirit" is a comedy revolving around spirits and the undead that reaches a variety of audiences with its twists and humor. When characters Charles and Ruth Condomine invite the Bradmans over for a dinner party, they intend for psychic Madam Arcati to conjure up a spirit as a kitschy conversation piece.

Fortunately for Madam Arcati, and unfortunately for Charles (and the dinner party conversation), the spirit of his deceased first wife appears, turning his whole world upside down as the spirit haunts him and tries to ruin his current marriage.

Second-year MFA student Candace Thomas plays Elvira, Charles’ diseased first wife. According to Thomas, Elvira is a troublesome character, but Thomas relishes playing that type of character.

“Elvira is such an amazing character to play and not just because I love being a ghost," Thomas said. "She is very naughty and very lively."

Being a ghost presents certain challenges, including being invisible to some of the characters on stage. There are many difficult scenes where Charles is the only one who can see her.

“I will say that it is hard sometimes to interact with one character when there are multiple people in the room,” Thomas said. “There is one scene where I am face-to-face with Ruth and talking to Charles, and it is very weird not being able to interact with both of them.”

One of the most interesting and surprising characters is Edith the housemaid, played by second-year theatre and criminal justice student Lindsey Sheehan. According to Sheehan, who has been involved in theatre since she was in the fifth grade, Edith is one of the most frantic and surprising characters that she has ever encountered.

"I was amazed when I got asked to play the role of Edith. She is so much fun because she is so frantic and nervous about messing up around the house,” Sheehan said. “I just hope the audience is prepared for the surprise twist with her."

The surprise twists aren't the only captivating elements of the drama. According to USC graduate Marybeth Gorman, who plays Madam Arcati, "Blithe Spirit" is set in the post World War II Era and is written to be an escape from reality. "Blithe Spirit" will be offering audiences unorthodox comedy from Nov. 13-21. Student tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the Longstreet Theatre Box Office or by phone.