Playreaders: Blithe Spirit

In early November Playreaders presented two one act plays, which were The Proposal by Paul Siemens and Post-its….Notes on a Marriage by Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman. Readers were: Honora Clemens, john Dolan and Dennis hall

The Play: On December 3rd Kay Hardy will stage the second act of Blithe Spirit a comedy by Noël Coward. Readers are Honora Clemens, Norma Doyle, Dennis Hall, Kay Hardy, Rebecca Kokemor, Penny MacKenzie, Jeffrey Sheff and Ginny Smith. The play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles, who invites the eccentric clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost. The 1941 play first had a long-run record for non-musical British plays, as well as Broadway later. Coward adapted the play for film in 1945, starring Rex Harrison, and directed a musical adaptation, High Spirits, on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television and revived on stage many times.

THE PLAYWRIGHT

Sir Noël Coward (1899 – 1973) was an English playwright, composer, director, and actor and, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called “a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise”.

Coward achieved enduring success as a playwright, publishing more than 50 plays. Many of his works, such as Private Lives and Blithe Spirit, have remained in the regular theatre repertoire. He composed hundreds of songs, screenplays, poetry, short stories, a novel and an autobiography. Coward’s stage and film career spanned six decades.

THE NEXT PLAY

On December 10th and 17th Sandy White will present Lost in Yonkers by Neil Simon. Readers are John Dolan, Al Johnson, Becky Kokemor, Hal McKown, , Ginny Smith, Sandy White, Evelyn Zigmont and David Zoellner .

It’s the summer of 1942 and two boys are sent to stay with their stern grandmother and their childlike aunt in Yonkers, New York. Their mother has died and their father is a traveling salesman. Jay and Arty don’t like their new living situation as they’re afraid of their Grandma and find it difficult to relate to their crazy Aunt Bella. To complicate things more, Bella’s sibling, Louie, a henchman for some gangsters arrives. He is hiding out from Hollywood Harry, who wants what Louie stole and is hiding in his small black bag. Jay and Arty’s try to make money fast so that they can help their father and move back in together. The plot thickens in true Neil Simon fashion.

THE PLAYWRIGHT

Neil Simon (1927-2018) wrote 30+ plays, mostly Broadway comedies, which were also adapted into a motion picture– the greatest such achievement of any playwright/author, even surpassing William Shakespeare. As a result, Simon has received more Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer in the history of show business.

He received the newly established ‘Apple Award’ from The Nederlander Company and Wayne State University. The Apple Award is presented annually to a nationally recognized theatre professional who has made significant contributions in his or her field.

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