26 May 2012

Blithe Spirit

A novelist and his second wife invite a spirit medium to hold a seance together with two other friends for the purpose of getting some ideas for his next novel. In doing so, the spirit of his dead first wife appears. Wow, this cannot be more comic, after all, what else can one expect from Noel Coward? This was the premise of his play, entitled Blithe Spirit, which we watched at the Kavinoky Theatre recently.

Shall I even provide a synopsis for this one? If you have a situation where your dead first wife appears, and she is only visible and audible to you, but not to your second live wife, then that should definitely be a hilarious situation. Are you mad? Are you talking to yourself? These are just some of the comedic devices that this play features.

One thing that I really liked about this play is that it is a play that makes good use of the theory of mind. The audience knows and sees everything: one sees the ghost and the living people. However, the characters do not. Within the living characters, only Charles (the novelist) can see the ghost. The other living characters do not. And that premise just makes a lot of opportunity for comic occasions. That being said, it actually can be taxing to the audience, since the audience needs to keep up with the mental states of these characters: one needs to know who can see the ghosts and who cannot, and so on. Fortunately, the material is not dense that this task is easily done.

With respect to the actors' performance, they were perfect. I loved the English accent, I loved the absurd acting, all for the sake of comedy. After all, who would find the trance dance not funny? Oh, and the servant's quirky performance was also amazing. No wonder I always enjoy myself whenever I attend a Kavinoky performance.

Overall, it was a great performance. I would love to see another performance of theirs again one of these days.

(Another Classroom, from my Cathedral of Learning Series)

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