The World is a Stage

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The Battle of Britain was called the Blitz. In order to invade England, Hitler had to control the English Channel and the sky above. Bombs screamed down on Britain, airfields, cities, and especially London. From Sept. 7, 1940 until the spring of 1941 more than 60,000 people were killed and 87,000 seriously injured. So much death. Can you imagine living through the terror, the pain, sending your children to Canada so they would live; the hunger, the sorrow, the death?

Noel Coward, a famous and talented playwright, wanted to do something to help keep morale up and cheer up the people. How? He wrote a play that made them laugh at what they feared, death! Don’t worry, his play about a ghost really is funny and it will make you feel good. He managed to write it in six days. It was on stage in six weeks, and 77 years later it is still a hit. It is the very famous classic, Blythe Spirit.

But you must wait a while before you get to see it because first we have to get a cast and crew! Ross Hepburn, whom you have seen on stage this past season, is going behind the curtain as the director, with Janice Lundy and Paul Bechard teaming up to produce the show.

So now is your big chance to be in a fantastic show. It takes place in 1940, but at a country estate untouched by the Blitz. Doing time period pieces is always fun as costumes, props, set, lighting, sound, and make-up all have to reflect the time period, the affluence, and the moods of the play, the playwright and director. When that curtain opens and the cast appears, the audience should know where and when you are.

We need people in all those departments so if you are interested pop out to auditions and sign up.

I am designing the set (walls, stairs, windows, furniture, colours, etc.) for the show and if anyone would like to learn how to do this, please contact me immediately at 519-842-9416. All you need is an imagination, so if you have always wanted to try interior design or love decorating, you are halfway there already. Let me know.

This show is more interesting than most as we have a ghost, sometimes visible to the audience, sometimes not. When invisible it (at times) likes to throw, break and move things. Special effects like these are a lot of fun to organize and execute and we need one or two people to specifically do this. If you are interested in doing special effects, please come to the auditions and let them know. We always need people off stage and it is fun behind the curtain.

Now what you all have been waiting for... the on-stage cast information. In general, we can use people from 18-80 years of age. The audition is a cold reading, which means you don’t have to prepare anything in advance. You should know though, there will be three rehearsals a week and you must be available for every show. (There are no understudies in community theatre.) The show runs May 3-6, May 10-13, 8 p.m. except Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

There are six characters, two men and four women. A lead role means being on stage a lot and having a fair amount of lines to memorize. Supporting roles can be a quick on and off, perhaps several times, like a maid or like Madame Arcati. The Bradmans have heavier roles with more lines and action but not as big as the Condomines.

Charles Condomine is a lead role - a sophisticated socialite and novelist. Ruth Condomine is also a lead role. She is also a sophisticated socialite and Charles’ second wife who cannot see the ghost. Elvira Condomine, another lead role, is the ghost. It's a really fun role as she is the annoying and temperamental first wife of Charles.

Edith is a smaller supporting role, the comic maid, as are Dr. George Bradman, a neighbour come for a séance, and Mrs. Violet Bradman, George’s wife, who has also come for a séance. Madame Arcati is a supporting role as a very eccentric medium and clairvoyant. (This is a coveted role.)

Auditions are Tuesday, Jan. 23, Thursday the 25th at 7 p.m. and Saturday the 27th at 2 p.m. at Theatre Tillsonburg’s Otter Valley Playhouse, 144789 Potter's Rd, Tillsonburg.

If you have any questions you can contact the producers, Janice and Paul, at (519) 874-4933.

Please don’t be shy about the auditions, whether you want to be in front or behind the curtain, you don’t have to have experience.

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