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Noel Coward's 'A Blithe Spirit' beckons

It’s only fitting Charles Condomine would call upon an eccentric medium as part of his research on the occult.

To learn the tricks of the trade for his latest book, he invites Madame Arcati to conduct a séance in his home.

But the novelist’s research takes on a wild life of its own after Madame Arcati unwittingly summons Charles’ first wife.

Hilarious mishaps and mayhem ensue in Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” kicking off the 2012-13 Sandy Actors Theatre season Sept. 14.by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MICHAEL HENLEY - CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MICHAEL HENLEY Charles (Jon O'Donnell) tries to wake Madame Arcati (Mikki Lipsey) from yet another trance, attempting to dematerialize his dead wives Elvira (Katie Mortemore), left, and Ruth (Kelli Lacey), right.

“All the fun is had around these foibles,” Doug Holtry, director, says. “You have these two women — only one alive — and their husband.”

Mischievous as ever, Elvira, the first wife who died seven years ago and was inadvertently revived, is only visible to Charles, who she torments.

“It’s a very silly comedy about people who are put in unbelievably ridiculous situations and completely fall apart,” Jon O’Donnell, the actor playing Charles, says.

With Holtry as director, the cast features a mix of SAT veterans and newcomers — Jon O’Donnell as Charles, Katie Mortemore as Elvira, Kelli Lacey as Ruth, the second wife, and Mikki Lipsey as Madame Arcati, the medium who facilitates the séances. Daniel Robertson, Julia Guthrie and Susie Kinder appear in supporting roles.

“I feel really blessed to work with these amazingly talented individuals, some of whom are coming back to stage acting after a hiatus,” Holtry said.

He, too, is returning to his role after a hiatus from directing, and this will mark Holtry’s first time directing for SAT.

Debuted in 1941, “Blithe Spirit” went on to become a musical adaption in 1964 and was revived on Broadway in 2009. The play was a smash hit on both London and Broadway stages.

“It’s a play (in which) true love kind of prevails,” Katie Mortemore says, laughing. “Kind of.”

The New York Times has described “Blithe Spirit” as “a highly efficient laugh machine, sheathed in satiny sophistication.”

The play runs through Oct. 7 at SAT, with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sundays. It is suitable for audience members of all ages.

Reservations are recommended, and patrons are encouraged to call in advance for wheelchair access and hearing assistance devices.