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Roanoke Theater Presents “Blithe Spirit”

Photo Courtesy of Emily Sierra Poertner
Photo Courtesy of Emily Sierra Poertner

By Emily Sierra Poertner


On Wednesday, Blithe Spirit, the most recent Roanoke College theater production, opened. The play, written by Noël Coward, is about a couple who accidently invite the husband’s deceased ex-wife into their home. John Lilley and Stephanie Spector play the lead roles of Charles and Ruth Condomine.

The play was directed by guest Dr. Diane Montgomery. She has directed plays at Union College, Shorter University, Missouri State University, Soldiers’ Theater in Italy, and closer to home, Radford University. Her husband lives in Roanoke, and since interviewing the RC theater department, she’s wanted to work here.

In this comedy, Mr. Condomine invites the eccentric psychic Madam Arcati, played by Kat Binney, over to get material for his latest novel. After the séance seems unsuccessful, all of the guests leave. Only then does Mr. Condomine discover his late ex-wife Elvira, played by Jessica Matera, has returned from the dead and is only visible to him. The three acts of the play chronicle the comedic struggles of the couple, trying to figure out why Elvira is there and how to get rid of her.

There were some minor slipups the first night with actors too eager saying their lines, but overall it was an elegant performance. Yik Yak filled with hype after the show. Dr. Bradman, played by Nicholas Wolf, received a lot of anonymous invitations to “play doctor.” The characters Ruth and Elvira were also praised.

It was also nice to see a play dominated by female roles. Recent productions have had more male roles, despite a large population of females in the theatre department. All of the actors and actresses embraced the comedic play, keeping the small opening night crowd laughing.

Don’t miss your last two chances to see Blithe Spirit tonight and tomorrow starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Olin Hall theater. Tickets are free for students, $7 for non-students and $5 for seniors and non-RC students. The box office is open 1:00-4:00 p.m. on Friday and right before the play starts.