Pure fun,” is how director Debbie Levin describes Brewster Theater Company’s spring 2012 production, the classic farce from Noel Coward, Blithe Spirit.
The ‘spirit’ in this case is Elvira (Angela Bowman), Charles Condomine’s temperamental first wife who is unwittingly summoned by medium Madame Arcati (Jody Bayer) during a séance in the Condomine home. Elvira continues to haunt Charles in an attempt to disrupt his marriage to his second wife Ruth (Dianna Waller) who cannot see or hear the ghost. Fellow séance guests Dr. Bradman (Conrad Coffield) and his wife (Suzanne Ochs) and the Condomine’s eager-to-please maid Edith (Kristen Casey) round out this ensemble comedy.
British playwright Noel Coward wrote the play in 1941 to give his fellow Londoners something light-hearted to distract them from the grim reality of the war that was literally raging in their backyard. Ms Levin, who is a huge fan of comedies from this era, believes that American audiences will likewise embrace the opportunity to escape reality for an evening of laughs. In this production, Levin emphasizes that the focus is on the humor and has resisted the temptation of other productions of this show to make a statement about marriage or death. “Once you start taking it too seriously it loses the fun,” she says.
While Levin, who resides in Brewster, has quite a few directing credits including Moon Over Buffalo (which received Taconic Weekends Best Picks of 2003), TANYS Award-winning The Importance of Being Earnest and most recently Round and Round the Garden with Ridgefield Theater Barn, she has always wanted to direct Blithe Spirit.
With a strong cast of performers who Levin describes as “extremely dedicated and enthusiastic from the first day of rehearsal,” the show is set up to deliver on the entertainment front. The production features Jody Bayer (Danbury, CT), Angela Bowman (Carmel, NY), Kristen Casey (Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY), Conrad Coffield (Bedford, NY), Suzanne Ochs (Peekskill,NY) Bruce Tredwell (Brewster, NY) and Dianna Waller (Brewster, NY).
Equally as dedicated and creative in Levin’s mind are the technical crew. With a show that relies to a large extent on visual and stage effects that require split second timing and accuracy, she acknowledges that the production team of Barbara Disraeli (stage manager), Frank Funigiello (sets/special effects), Kitty Ridenour (costumes), and Joe Beahm (technical director/lighting designer) contributes greatly to the show’s impact.
Blithe Spirit will be performed on April 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28 at 8 pm at The Melrose School 120 Federal Road, Brewster, NY 10509. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students/seniors. Groups interested in purchasing 10 or more tickets should call for more information. Please call 845-598-1621 or log onto www.brewstertheater.org to make reservations or obtain more information about the show.
This (event, project, program) is made possible, in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature and with public funds from Putnam County. These grant programs are managed and monitored by the Putnam Arts Council.
Photo Credit: Barbara Disraeli
From Left to Right: Suzanne Ochs, Bruce Tredwell, Angela Bowman, Jody Bayer,
Dianna Waller, Conrad Coffield
Not Pictured: Kristen Casey