Alyssa Tyler editor in chief
PSU Theatre is ready to raise the curtain on their first show of the season, Blithe Spirit. The play features a recently widowed husband who works as an author; however, he is stuck with writer’s block. To get past it, he brings in an eccentric medium who isn’t the best at her job. At a séance, she accidentally brings back the author’s late wife, and she refuses to go back.
The play was written by Noel Coward in 1941, a London author who is considered to be one of the most important writers of British farce. Megan Westhoff, assistant professor of Communication and director saw the play performed first when she was in high school, and said she fell in love with the supernatural aspect of it.
“We’re in middle of World War II, and this was right after Londoners were experiencing the blitz,” Westhoff said. “And (as) he said, the world is really tough and difficult, and there’s a lot of times that we need to escape from it. So, he wrote it as pure escapism. There’s no mention of World War II or anything that was happening at the time. So, if you watch it or read it, you have no idea that really looking into it, what was happening. And he said we must escape when things are hard. And after we’re coming out of a pandemic and then we’re dealing with all the war-torn tragedies around the world, we can take on all of those things ourselves and we sometimes feel helpless, and it just feels like it’s crushing us. Sometimes we have to be able to laugh and be able to laugh with other people, so this is the reason that I chose it. Because I thought it was really important for us to remember that humanity is about living in the everyday and not always living in the deep, depressing part of it.”
The cast and crew have been working on the production for approximately seven weeks. The production is a one set production, meaning that the backdrop of the scene will stay relatively the same throughout the production.
“We’ve been doing this for about seven weeks… this is set in the 1940s and it takes place in London,” Westhoff said. “So how do we have the audience walk in and go, ‘oh, this is a different time and place, this is not today; this is another time,’ The art deco movement was very popular at that time. . . And I said, I want Navy, I want this feeling of Navy. because it was very plush and luxurious.”
Westhoff described the process as challenging, due to the 1940s language and pronunciations.
“It’s been very interesting, because it takes so much time and effort, it takes such a big team of people to make everything happen, it’s been a fun process,” Westhoff said. “The students are challenged because it is 1940s language and it’s also (a) very British comedy, so you have to really pay attention to the words and pronunciation. It’s been a challenge and there’s a lot of words in it, so they’ve been challenged by that, but they’ve been having a good time.”
PSU Theatre will also be accepting donations in any form to support the program named ‘Baby for Baby.’ They will accept cash donations and physical donations of coats, socks, and other necessities.
Tickets can be purchased day of at the Bicknell Center.
“I just want them to come and have fun and to hang out with other people and laugh and just to escape for a couple of hours from whatever is weighing heavy on their heart and just to have fun.”