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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance


BLITHE SPIRIT at Drayton Hall Theatre | November 13-21, 2015

Noël Coward's otherworldly comedy takes over Drayton Hall Theatre November 13-21. Tickets go on sale November 6!

Theatre South Carolina
presents

Blithe Spirit

by Noël Coward
Directed by Stan Brown

November 13-21, 2015

Drayton Hall Theatre
1214 College St.


Show Times:

Friday, November 13: 8pm
Saturday, November 14: 8pm
Sunday, November 15: 3pm
Wednesday, November 18: 8pm
Thursday, November 19: 8pm
Friday, November 20: 8pm
Saturday, November 21: 3pm & 8pm

Tickets:
$12  |  Students
$16  |  USC Faculty/Staff, Military and Seniors 60+
$18  |  General Admission

Box Office: 777-2551
Or purchase in person at Longstreet Theatre.  Box office opens November 6.
Box Office Hours: 12:30pm - 5:30pm, Monday - Friday


Blithe Spirit has endured as one of the world’s most beloved and frequently performed plays since its debut on London’s West End in 1941.  Coward’s uproarious farce introduces us to popular writer Charles Condomine, who invites the town psychic to his home just so he can cynically study her techniques for his new book.  Charles gets more than he bargained for, however, when the medium's seance summons his deceased wife, Elvira.  Thrilled to be freed from the spiritual realm, Elvira begins a campaign to retake possession of her widower, in spite of the protests of his current wife.  Charles finds himself caught up in a romantic rivalry between heaven and earth that has him stuck squarely in the middle…in hell!  “…a comedy that still startles and delights.”  — The Telegraph

Director Stan Brown says the play shows Coward at the peak of his legendarily multi-faceted career.  “He was a brilliant writer, actor, composer… and he was really ahead of his time in terms of what he would talk about.  He was able to look at class and relationships in a humorous way that gave his audiences an ability to think about those ideas in a public forum, whereas otherwise they probably would have retreated into the Victorian veil of just not acknowledging those things.”

For Brown, however, it’s more than Coward’s signature wit that makes the play appealing.  

“Yes, it is about the outrageous situation of somebody’s dead wife coming back,” he says, “but it also asks deeper questions. Once you’ve opened up your heart to someone, how much of that do you take into other relationships?  What kind of baggage are you still carrying around, and is that haunting you in your current life?”


2nd-year MFA actor Josh Jeffers (left) is Charles Condomine, MFA acting alum Marybeth Gorman (center)
is Madame Arcati, and 2nd-year MFA actor Candace Thomas (right) is Elvira.

Brown has encountered a different sort of “ghosts” in the past two years, as the University of SC alum returned to the Columbia campus in 2014 to take on a full professorship in the theatre program.  A graduate of the University with both a BA (’84 ) and MFA (’89) in Theatre, Brown went on to find work in film and television (films Modern Love and Getting In; tv series I’ll Fly Away, In the Heat of the Night and Homicide: Life on the Street, among others), while forging a successful teaching career at such institutions as the University of Warwick and the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. 

Being back on campus stages, he says, brings forth a barrage of great memories.  “There’s a ghost around every turn.  I’ll walk around the corner and think ‘this’ happened here or ‘that’ happened there.  But it’s the best decision I’ve made in the last fifty years.  I’m home, and I’ve always loved home.”

Cast in Blithe Spirit are graduate acting students Josh Jeffers (Charles Condomine), Nicole Dietze (his living wife, Ruth) and Candace Thomas (deceased wife, Elvira), and undergraduate students DeAudrey Owens, Ashley Graham and Lindsey Sheehan.  Guest actor Marybeth Gorman, an MFA graduate of the theatre program, will play the mysterious medium, Madame Arcati.  The “haunted” design of the Condomine residence is being created by graduate students Baxter Engle (scenic design) and Rachel Sheets (lighting design).  Graduate costume design student Rachel Harmon is bringing the glamorous 40s fashions to shimmering life.  Sound design for the production is by guest artist and alum Danielle Wilson.

For more information about Blithe Spirit or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at bushk@mailbox.sc.edu