The two plays I will be comparing in this essay are Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit and Stewart Lemoine s Evelyn Strange , both put on at the New Varscona Theater. Both were very good plays, and the enjoyment factor for everyone in the theater was high, but both plays in many ways contrasted each other. Blithe Spirit dealt with a man who is haunted by his dead wives, brought back by a crazy fortune teller and is mainly a play based around comedy, while Evelyn Strange is a play about a woman with amnesia trying to rediscover her life, although this play has its comical moments it also deals with some serious issues, such as adultery and murder. Blithe Spirit was only one act long, and seemed to be over to quickly, much like many of today s sitcoms, while Evelyn Strange had an intermission, and was almost an hour longer, giving more to the audience. Because of their different desired effect of each of these plays, the performances of the actors varied greatly. The actors in Blithe Spirit were mainly playing for laughs from the audience, and as such their performances seemed to lack somewhat when it came to character. Evelyn Strange however had actors completely dedicated to their parts. The performances were good enough that the audience was almost brought to tears on a number of occasions. Because of this the audience was not only moved by the performances, but when the play turned to comedic relief the audience laughed even harder.
A Comical Review of Blithe Spirit Blithe Spirit written by Noel Coward was first published in 1941. Noel Coward was known for his sophisticated comedies of modern life (Seymour, Smith 261). It is sophisticated yet hilarious to the readers. Seymour and Smith stated that Coward? s plays, ? are within their admittedly-but unashamedly-extremely narrow limits, accurate truthful, cynical and funny? ( ...
The Technical considerations for each play were quite different as well. Evelyn Strange needed little as far as lights and sounds went, as the play was character driven, the sets however were very intricate, and changed a number of times during the show. This helped the audience join the world of the players. As complete contrast to that Blithe Spirit never changed the set during the duration of the play, but needed a lot of technical help. Such things as doors opening by themselves, to special lighting and sound, or paintings knocking themselves off the wall must have taken a lot of preparation to make believable to the audience. In this regard Blithe Spirit is superior to Evelyn Strange.
These two plays once again prove how contrasting they are when the focus of the audience is well thought-out. In Evelyn Strange the audience was focused directly on the performances, and on the emotional interaction between the characters. Blithe Spirit had the audience focused on special effects, and pizzazz, which was to cover up the sub average performances of the actors on stage.
Theater should entertain audiences first and foremost, which both productions did, but a strong underlying meaning is needed. Plays need to, as Brect says, teach the audience something. Any production that can do both of the following is considered an accomplishment. This is why Blithe Spirit falls short of Evelyn Strange when it comes to overall success. Although both plays were very good at entertaining, you left the theater really considering the issues brought up in Evelyn Strange while Blithe Spirit didn t seem to be able to do that. Which is why I believe Evelyn Strange may stand the test of time in the minds of its audience while Blithe Spirit will not be able too.