Theatre department produces ‘Blithe Spirit’

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Photo courtesy of Madalyn Macko

Deanna Wright

This past month the theatre department put on their first in-person live show, Blithe Spirit, since pre-covid. 

“Blithe Spirit” is a comic show that follows a novelist, Charles Condomine and his second wife Ruth. Mr. Condomine invites Madame to conduct a seance to help gather material for his next novel. After the seance he is haunted by his first wife, Elvira, and goes a little mad and everyone else believes he is just pulling a prank. 

“Kinda chaotic, not gonna lie,” junior musical theater major Amanda Townes said. “There is a medium, there is a lot of confusion, there’s mockery of the upper class, there’s a maid, there’s all sorts of things. It’s going to be more comedic, shocking, and reveal different things.” 

With that being said, all of the shows the department puts on have so much work that goes into creating the show before an audience even gets to see it. 

According to Townes, for this show, the students in the department worked on painting the sets, even the minor details as well as working on the little things such as the smallest detail on a prop for weeks. 

Not only did sets have to be prepared, the actors also  had so much background work to study and learn the part they were portraying. 

“There is so much homework behind researching the historical context of this comedy and manners play that make it a very complicated but beautiful process,” Townes said. 

The whole set for this particular show consists of a living room that had three stairs separating it from the platform the bookshelves, table, piano and doors to other doors and outside were on. 

The last scene of the show had a lot of planning and creativity to make most of the set pieces fall to make it seem like Mr. Condomine’s dead wives were still in the house. 

“The frames were hung on the wall like normal pictures would be, just instead of nails it was short wooden dowels,” freshman run crew member Mikayla Smith said. “From the back side of [the] set we would pull the dowels and they would fall off the walls.” 

Also according to Smith, the way they were able to push the books off the shelves was by attaching a wooden dowel that came through a hole on the set like the dowel rods for the pictures.  It was then connected to a piece of luan that rested against the books. The whole thing formed a “T” and then backstage during that scene they pushed the dowel into the books so they would fall off the shelf. 

“The books[‘] pages were taped together, that way the book would fall off the shelf and the dowel wouldn’t push in between the pages,” Smith said. 

The doors were able to swing open and shut close due to the fact they attached 1×2 boards with hinges which allowed them to pull the doors from further away so the audience would not see them in the background. 

So much more goes into the shows that the department does and each one is completely different. The rest of the shows the department will be putting on this school year are: “Tom Jones:” Nov. 4-7, “Songs For New World:” Nov. 18-21 and Dec. 2-5, “Godspell:” Feb. 17-20 and Feb. 24-27 and “Clybourne Park:” April 7-10. 

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