Incline Theatre Planning to Raise Your “Spirit” This Summer

 

Sneak Peek by Laurel Humes of Blithe Spirit: Incline Theatre

Actress Kayla Burress is channeling her inner ghost to play one in Blithe Spirit, opening June 28 at Warsaw Federal Incline Theater.

Since this is a Noel Coward comedy, Elvira the Ghost is playful and clever. With the added advantage that no one can see her, “I can slouch around, say whatever I want, with no pretense or show,” Burress said.

That is freedom, in upper-class 1940’s England, where everyone keeps up a mannered and stylish veneer, putting on a show for each other. “Elvira is the opposite of that,” Burress said.

Here’s the plot:

Novelist Charles Condomine (Matt Krieg) was married to Elvira before she died seven years ago. Now his wife is Ruth (Grace Eichler). Charles is researching séances for a book, when clairvoyant Madame Arcati (Traci Taylor) calls up the ghost of Elvira.

Only Charles can see and hear Elvira, which sets up hilarious situations of misunderstanding as he reacts and Ruth thinks he’s crazy – until Elvira makes herself known to Ruth, too. There are many other twists, but I won’t spoil the fun.

Blithe Spirit, directed by Bob Brunner, is filled with special effects. Things float and break; there’s fog and haze. Elvira is ghostly in pale makeup and hair, light-colored and flowing costumes.

Blithe Spirit was first staged in 1941. In a testament to Noel Coward’s enduring humor, the play has been revived many times in London and New York, most recently on Broadway in 2009.

Elvira even died funny, Burress said. “She had a heart attack laughing at a radio show. She laughed to death!”

Burress, a 2015 musical theatre graduate of Ohio Northern University, just concluded a tour with Madcap Puppets and expects to appear next with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.

Blithe Spirit runs Wednesdays-Sundays through July 23 at Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, 801 Matson Place, in the Incline District of East Price Hill.  For tickets, call 513-241-6550 or go to www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.

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