Production of ‘Blithe Spirit’ at McPherson College Shares in Decades-Long Tradition

By Adam Pracht, McPherson College
October 07, 2016

When “Blithe Spirit” comes to Brown Auditorium this weekend, it will be part of a long history of McPherson College staging the classic comedy. It’s a tradition stretching back nearly to when the play was written – seven decades ago.

Jd. Bowman, associate professor of theatre, is the director of the show, which will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7-8 and Oct. 14-15 in Brown Auditorium.

Noël Coward wrote the play in 1941, Bowman said, as a way to cheer audiences in the midst of World War II. Before the decade was out, McPherson College performed the play for the first time, in 1949. This Friday will mark the fourth production of “Blithe Spirit” at MC.

The themes of the play, Bowman said, make it a particularly good fit for Homecoming weekend, which is Oct. 14-16.

“Homecoming is a mix of seeing the current energized campus poised to move forward into the future,” he said. “At the same time Homecoming is also about memories and the ghosts of previous student generations. It seemed like a natural fit, to me.”

The play follows a novelist – Charles Condomine – who invites a medium to conduct a séance in his home in an attempt to gather material to include in his next book. The summoning has unexpected consequences, however, when it draws his deceased first wife, Elvira, back from the afterlife. Not pleased that Charles has remarried, Elvira attempts to wreck the new union to his second wife, Ruth, who can’t see the ghost.

Even with the themes of death and jealousy, the play is light and witty, with an irreverent attitude toward mortality.

“At the heart of the comedy, ‘Blithe Spirit’ is about embracing your choices, past and present,” Bowman said, “And celebrating the complications of life… and death.”

Tickets to all shows cost $5 for adults and $3.50 for children ages high school and younger as well as seniors. Reservations may be made by contacting the theatre box office at 620-242-0444 or at [email protected] 

Cast of the show is: Tanner Trigg, freshman, Mission, Texas (Charles Condomine); Elisha Wilcock, freshman, Sabetha, Kan. (Ruth Condomine); Erin Fralick, freshman, New Palestine, Ind. (Madame Arcati); Nancy Dorrell, freshman, Newton, Kan. (Elvira Condomine); Logan J.P. Schrag, junior, McPherson, Kan. (Dr. Bradman); Elizabeth Thornton, freshman, Karval, Colo. (Mrs. Bradman); Aubrey Hollinger, junior, Lyons, Kan. (Edith)

Crew includes: Joshua Hall, senior, Tonganoxie, Kan. (light design) and Abby Trenkle, senior, Haysville, Kan. (stage manager, as part of her senior project).

Contact:Adam Pracht, public relations coordinator, 620-242-0425, [email protected]

McPherson College, located in central Kansas, is a four-year private liberal arts college offering more than 20 bachelor’s and pre-professional programs. Throughout the curriculum, students are encouraged to explore their ideas, to learn through doing and to make a difference in the world.  McPherson College, affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, is committed to the ideals of scholarship, participation, and service – developing whole persons, prepared for fulfilling life vocations.

Visitwww.mcpherson.edufor more information about McPherson College.