After the rigors of putting on a full-scale fall musical and competing in One Act, the North Branch Theatre Department uses the spring play as an opportunity to put on a more laid-back, light-hearted production. This year, that production is in the form of “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward.
The comedy, which was written in 1941, is about a struggling novelist, Charles Condomine, and his wife who trick an eccentric medium into performing a seance in order to do research for an upcoming book. However, the seance actually works and Charles’s late first wife materializes and proceeds to haunt the couple, causing chaos and turning Charles’s life into a living nightmare.
As is tradition, North Branch’s spring production is being led by a pair of student directors. This year, it is Anna Savage and Zachary Fluegel. The two are sitting in the directors’ chairs after performing in numerous productions during their high school careers. Most recently, Savage earned All-Conference Honorable Mention as “Waitress” in the one-act play “Tracks” and played Asher’s Wife in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Fluegel earned All-Conference recognition for his portrayal of “Old Man” in “Tracks” and had the title character in “Joseph.”
Laura Michels is on hand to help out the student directors and to work with the actors on acting etiquette techniques.
But just because this formula is more casual, with the actors feeling freer to ad lib, it doesn’t mean the play is less challenging.
“This story is very heavy with dialogue,” said Michels.
Add to that the fact that there are only seven characters in the story, with two of them on stage for a vast majority of the hour-and-a-half performance. This puts a strong emphasis on memorizing lines and achieving a cohesion between the actors.
This particular performance is also historical as it will be the last in the North Branch Auditorium in its current state. Over the summer the auditorium will receive a new floor, new seating and other upgrades courtesy of the referendum passage last May.
There will be three public performances of “Blithe Spirit,” – Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 12, and 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and can be purchased at the Community Education Office, County Market. A small number of remaining tickets may also be on sale at the door.
Friday, May 11 - 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 12 - 2 and 7 p.m.
North Branch Edelstein Auditorium
Tickets: Adults $8, Students $6
Edith - Alina Bushinger
Ruth - Adalee Donahue
Charles - Braden Weyenberg
Elvira - Kenzie Clemens
Madame Arcati - Hailey Magnison
Mr. Bradman - Ethan Houle
Mrs. Bradman - Sandra Yerges
Director - Laura Michels
Student Director - Anna Savage
Student Director - Zachary Fluegel