LHS Theater Department presents “Blithe Spirit”

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The Libertyville High School winter play, “Blithe Spirit,” was written by Noël Coward, an English playwright, in 1941. The play is a British comedy that centers around a novelist, Charles Condomine, and his journey with the ghosts of his wife, Ruth, and ex-wife, Elvira.

The play was performed in LHS’s auditorium from Feb. 15-17 and was directed by Mr. Kevin Holly, the LHS technical theater coordinator, and Kiersten Frumkin, a graduate of The Chicago College of Performing Arts, who grew up in Libertyville. The Theater Department’s version of “Blithe Spirit” consisted of two casts, one that performed Thursday and Saturday nights, and the other performed on Friday night and Saturday during the day.

The casting was one of the greatest successes of the play. Condomine, played by Albert Sterner in the first cast and Will Neason in the second, was one of the main characters. I saw Sterner perform, and he did a great job portraying the role of a British novelist. It was very impressive that all the students in the play were able to maintain a British accent, making it hard to tell that it was an accent at all.

Because this play was a comedy, it was very easy for the audience to enjoy. There was a constant witty banter back and forth throughout the characters, allowing the audience to participate and engage in laughter. The ability of these high school students to deliver comedic lines for both children and adults is quite remarkable. One of the characters who is regarded as a comedian is Madame Arcati, played by Zoe Randolph in the first cast and Julia DeNoia in the second. Madame Arcati is a medium who performs the séances that take place, which are attempts to communicate with ghosts, and she is known for being a little eccentric. In the first cast, Randolph did a great job portraying the role through her dynamic dialogue and gestures.

The costuming was also a very important aspect of this play. Since the play took place in the past, the costumes contribute to transporting the cast and the audience back into the time period. The costume director, David Lundholm, did a great job finding pieces that allowed the characters to be easily transported back into time. One of the most impactful costumes was the costumes of Elvira. The actresses, Alice Lillydahl and Clarisse Austin, were painted silver and were complemented with long silver dresses and silver wigs. They both looked very believable and the costumes suited the role perfectly.

The entire play was performed in one setting,  the Condomine’s living room. This was very interesting because the set had many movable parts so that they were able to change the time of day, as well as the seating arrangements. These parts included movable French doors that the actors moved in and out of, as well as tables that were arranged by the actors as part of the show. The lighting was also a large part of the play; the stage was lit by a chandelier that was hanging in the center. This allowed for the room to really feel as if it was in one’s house.

One unique aspect of the show was when the ghosts of Ruth and Elvira were no longer visible and Charles was alone in the room. A hanging portrait fell, books flew off of the shelf and the chandelier was dropped onto the couch, allowing for it to feel as if there truly was a ghost present.

The LHS Theater Department was very successful this weekend with the show “Blithe Spirit.” It was very light-hearted and provided a great deal of laughter and entertainment to the audience.

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