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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

'Blithe Spirit' haunts novelist in Prairie View production

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Madame Arcati (Paige Utech), standing, instructs, from left, Charles Condomine (Trevor Nelson), Ruth Condomine (Cecelia Brockway), Mrs. Bradman (Madilyn Weir) and Doctor Bradman (Collin Pope) the intricacies of conducting a séance in "Blithe Spirit." (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

A haunting by the ghost of a writer's wife, and a failed attempt to help that author into the realm of the spirits was the story line of "Blithe Spirit," a production of the Prairie View Theater Department on the evening of March 10 and during a matinee on March 11.

Set in England, the play focused on novelist Charles Condomine who is trying to gather some material for his new book. He enlists the services of an eccentric medium, Madame Arcati, to conduct a séance to contact the spirit world.

As a result of the séance, however, the spirit of his first wife, Elvira, is unleashed. A headstrong and temperamental woman when she was alive, Elvira’s ghost is no different, and her haunting focuses on making life difficult for Charles and his second wife, Ruth, who cannot hear or see the ghost.

From left, the spirit of Elvira (Tabetha Stone), the dead wife of novelist Charles Condomine (Trevor Nelson) distracts him in the middle of an argument with his current wife Ruth Condomine (Cecilia Brockway), who cannot see Elvira.

An attempt by Elvira to kill Charles fails, killing Ruth instead. Ruth's spirit returns and begins to seek revenge on Elvira.

A classic Noël Coward comedy, the Prairie View production featured Trever Nelson as Charles, Tabetha Stone as Elvira, and Cecilia Brockway as Ruth. All three actors gave strong performances in their respective roles.

Paige Utech was perfect as the very eccentric Madame Arcati, whose séance inadvertently called forth the spirit of Elvira. Danaca Brake performed the part of Edith, and Collin Pope and Madilyn Weir are Doctor and Mrs. Bradman.

Directed by drama teacher Austin Pixton, the crew included stage manager Amestia Williams, director's assistants Cash Litner and Heath Fletcher, lighting operator Stephanie Koperski, sound operator Bailey Hughes, props master Elizabeth Collette and makeup and hair by Cheyann Coffman.

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