Annie Gaybis in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit
Article by Brent Woronoff, staff writer for syndication
Annie Gaybis says Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" is a wonderful play to get somebody in the mood for the holidays.
To find out how a story about an eccentric psychic bringing back a cantankerous writer's deceased first wife to haunt him will get you in the mood for the holidays, you'll just have to go see the City Repertory Theatre's production of the classic British comedy.
Gaybis plays the deceased first wife, Elvira, while fellow actors Earl Levine and Victoria Page play writer Charles Condomine and medium Madame Arcati.
Julia Truilo plays Condomine's current wife, Ruth, who can't see or hear the spirit of Elvira.
The reading is full wardrobed and performed with British accents. A Foley sound man is on stage with the actors producing sound effects.
"Instead of smashing a dish, I will mime smashing a dish and he will create the sound,"Gaybis said.
But that doesn't mean there are no props. Gaybis is lending her crystal ball for the performance. Unlike Coward's story, Gaybis said she does not use the crystal ball for seances.
The cast and director John Sbordone are dedicating the production to actor/director Anne Kraft, who died in May.
"Everyone in the play has worked with her," Gaybis said.
Kraft directed Gaybis in the last play she was in, "Two for the Seesaw, which was filmed because of COVID-19 and made available online.
"She also co-starred with me in "The Women," one of the last plays I did at the City Repertory Theatre," Gaybis said. "She directed me in many shows outside of this area."
Sbordone has taken a role in "Blithe Spirit," - Condomine's friend, Dr. Bradman – which is something he never does, Gaybis said.
Joanne Van Zyl plays Mrs. Bradman, while Jen Chidekel plays Edith, the maid.
"It's such a great play to get somebody in the mood for the holidays," Gaybis said. "It's such a fun play. There are no bad words in it. It's wonderful for any teenager. It's a great thing for them to see. Noel Coward is not normally done around here.
"It's funny, witty and well-performed by excellent actors, who have made it their lives' career."
The show will run Dec. 2 to Dec. 5 at City Repertory Theatre in City Marketplace. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students.