Get in the 'Spirit' with new Bag&Baggage play
Hillsboro's Bag&Baggage Productions is getting in the spirit, as it brings Noel Coward's witty comedy of manners, "Blithe Spirit," to life at The Vault Theater this month.
Starring Bag&Baggage entire resident acting company and directed by Bag&Baggage founder Scott Palmer, "Blithe Spirit" is considered Noel Coward's masterpiece of wit and wickedness.
"Noel Coward is infamous for his witty banter, biting social commentary, and fabulous dialogue," Palmer said, "and 'Blithe Spirit' is Noel Coward at his very, very best. I love this play and am truly excited to work with this incredible cast on one of the most popular plays ever written."
Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 11-27, at 2 p.m. Tickets online at bagnbaggage.org or by calling the box office at 503-345-9590. "Pay What You Will" performance on Thursday May 10.
"Blithe Spirit" was written during the height of World War II, and was devised by Coward as a way to give the British people something to laugh at and be delighted by, while faced with the hardships of the war, Palmer said. The play opened in London in 1941 and immediately broke all ticket sales records, becoming one of the most successful stage plays in English history.
The play tells the story of novelist Charles Condomine, who decides to host a dinner party and séance with his wife Ruth to provide important details for the plot of Charles' upcoming book. The séance is conducted by psychic Madame Arcati who accidentally summons the spirit of Charles' previous wife, Elvira, back from "the other side." Elvira, though, is only visible to Charles, thus setting off a series of farcical events as both women battle for Charles' attention, Palmer added.
"One of the most exciting things about our production," Palmer said, "is that we get to use the full force of all of our theater equipment and technology to help create the ghostly, supernatural world of the play."
Projections and stage tricks will be employed by scenic designer Tyler Buswell, who said he enjoys creating the play's supernatural effects.
"My favorite thing in the entire world is engineering stage tricks and rigging for supernatural effects in theater," he said. "I cannot wait to get started creating this amazing, ghostly world."
Palmer said the play has been set in the slick, plastic world of 1980s England, and the production explores Coward's obsession with mockery, particularly mockery of gender roles, his distaste of social norms and platitudes, and his complete aversion to the rigid rules of marriage.
"One of my favorite Coward quotes is at the heart of our production," Palmer said. "Coward said, 'To take a gloomy view of life is not part of my philosophy; to laugh at the idiocies of my fellow creatures is."'
Blithe Spirit stars Bag&Baggage resident artists Jessi Walters as Elvira, Andrew Beck as Charles, Peter Schuyler as Dr. Bradman, Kymberli Colbourne as Madame Arcati, Arianne Jacques as Edith, with Associate Artist Jessica Geffen as Mrs. Bradman, and Associate Artistic Director Cassie Greer as Ruth. Costumes are designed by Melissa Heller, with Lighting Design by Jim Ricks-White.
"Blithe Spirit" runs from May 11 through May 27 at The Vault Theater in downtown Hillsboro.
Tickets are available online at bagnbaggage.org or by calling the box office at 503345-9590.
A special "Pay What You Will" preview presented on Thursday, May 10 at 7:30 pm.
More information can be found online at bagnbaggage.org.
The Vault Theater is located at 350 E. Main St. in Hillsboro.
By Mandy Feder-Sawyer
Subscribe to our E-News and get the week's top stories in your inbox
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It can cost as little as 3 cents a day.)