Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Fairfax High School Blithe Spirit

By • Mar 3rd, 2008 • Category: Cappies

Picture this: you are with your wife, and suddenly your deceased first wife’s spirit comes back from “the other side.” Talk about an awkward situation! Fairfax High School’s production of Noel Coward’s classic comedy Blithe Spirit was a quirky, yet funny take on the play that brings the word “spirited” to a completely new level.

Blithe Spirit entered the theatre scene surrounded by controversy. Written by Noel Coward in 1941, the play was criticized for its comedic outlook towards death during World War II. However, the controversy did not stop the play from becoming the longest running play in London’s West End history until the 1970s, running for 1,997 consecutive performances. The play opens with Charles and Ruth Condomine holding a séance with their friends, Dr. and Mrs. Bradman. Madame Arcati arrives and somehow manages to conjure the spirit of Elvira, Charles’ deceased first wife. The plot then focuses on Elvira’s many unsuccessful attempts to win back Charles and wreak havoc on Ruth.

Despite some enunciation troubles, technical mishaps, and at times the chemistry being somewhat awkward or forced, the cast and crew did a fine job of establishing the eerie, yet strangely hilarious atmosphere necessary for this show.

Theo Contes did a good job portraying Charles Condomine’s utter perplexity when his deceased wife is brought back from “the other side.” Brittany Bustle was deviously comedic as Elvira, especially in her increasingly desperate attempts to tear apart Charles’ current marriage.

Maddy Goubeaux brought a fresh jolt of energy to the production through her extraordinary characterization in her role as Madame Arcati. Using vivid facial expressions and lively physical gestures, Goubeaux effectively captured the loony medium’s offbeat character. Michelle Marin also brought energy to the stage through her portrayal of Edith, the family servant. Marin had great comedic timing, bringing her hopelessly clueless character to life.

Roberto Camona and Alex Caruso composed an ingenious soundtrack to fit the play’s ethereal mood. They composed a total of 10 original songs, and each song sounded unique, truly an extraordinary task. The lighting, designed by Jesse Free, Gary Kochetkov, and Roberto Carmona, contained many thoughtful effects, including a seemingly functioning fireplace and lighting that changed to represent the passing of time. The intricate two-level set designed by TJ O’Brien and Gary Kochetkov, with marvelous paintings by Heun Yook, successfully brought the Condomine house to life. The props and special effects, created by Tem Weiland, Gary Kochetkov, Zach Coleman, and Grace Vander Veer, were brilliantly thoughtful, especially in the absolutely chaotic destruction of the set at the end of the show.

Fairfax High School’s comical production of Blithe Spirit taught the audience that the deceased are better left “on the other side.”

by Kyle O’Connor of South County

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