For the first time in 48 years, Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” will once again come to life on the stage of Warner Robins Little Theater.
In its 53rd season, the theater will host Coward’s 1941 story about socialite and novelist, Charles Condomine, who wishes to learn more about the occult, according to Tyler Bryant, a member of the WRLT board of governors who also plays the part of Charles. He said Charles invites an eccentric medium named Madam Arcati (Pat Phillips) to hold a seance at his house because he is doing research about the occult for a novel he is writing, and while there, she inadvertently summons the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, (Annie Sinatra). Since only Charles can see or hear Elvira, his second wife, Ruth (Whitney Cochran), does not believe him, and she and the other characters in attendance, Dr. Bradman (Bill Felton) and his wife, Violet (Sara Lynch), think Charles has gone crazy.
“There (are) a lot of twists and turns,” said Bryant, who describes his character as a fussy and cantankerous narcissist who is a very successful novelist and thinks very highly of himself. Bryant adds that it is very inconvenient for his character when his late wife is brought back, and only when a floating vase is handed to her does Ruth begin to believe he is telling the truth that Elvira is back. Regardless, he says, Elvira continues to haunt the characters and disturb them throughout the story.
“She (Elvira) may have reasons for lingering around ... that are less than playful,” Bryant said, alluding to the storyline. “Her playful nature may be less than pure.”
The play is described by Bryant as “a comedy of manners ... a British farce.” He said the actors have had vocal/language coaching to authenticate the correct British dialect for the play.
“It’s been a real good thrill for us to make sure we have this as authentic as possible,” he said. “It’s a great show ... it really is quite funny.”
The play is directed by Michael Castle, of Warner Robins, who has been directing plays for more than a decade, and it is produced by Cathy Collins.
Castle said the play has “sharp and witty” word play between the characters, with none of the characters being quite what they seem by the end of the play
“The only likable character is Edith (Cat Webling), the housemaid,” he said.
The play, according to Castle, runs a little more than two hours and is appropriate for all ages.