by Craig Johnson
Some plays are like old friends. You see a great production when you’re young, or fall in love with a script that you had to read for English class, and while everyone else groaned you secretly thought, “this is great!” If you work in theatre or are a faithful audience member, you get to experience these shows in different productions at different times of your life, and each time you look forward to your favorite moments – but then come away appreciating some new facet that somehow you had missed before.
Blithe Spirit is that kind of old friend. In addition to working on productions of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, Fallen Angels, Design for Living, and Private Lives (twice—yum!), I’ve had the good fortune to play Charles Condomine at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji, direct a production at Theatre in the Round in Minneapolis, and the first Broadway show I ever saw was a very starry but slightly disappointing revival with Geraldine Page, Blythe Danner, and Richard Chamberlain. Well, even good friends have their off-days!
What a pleasure to return to Lanesboro to spend time with this wickedly ingenious comedy, and once again marvel at the play. Coward has created a perfectly plotted little masterpiece that displays his indestructible showmanship. Each scene is so expertly crafted with witty rejoinders, elegantly contrasting characters, neatly calculated set ups, escalating comic confusion, and unexpected twists making it a treat for actors and audiences alike.
So sit back, relax, and spend some time with an old pal. Oh, you’ve never met? Well, then, let me introduce you to Blithe Spirit. You’re going to be such good friends.
Blithe Spirit begins previews this Friday, May 10
ahead of the official opening on Saturday, May 18.