Blithe Spirit in Rodey Theatre

Till death do us part takes on an entirely new meaning as Noël Coward’s self-described “improbable farce” Blithe Spirit plays Rodey Theatre April 19-28. With a cast of UNM’s finest actors, expertly led by prominent director Paul Ford, in a lavish production designed by Emmy-award winner Dahl Delu, Blithe Spirit promises an evening of high style and sparkling humor in this delightful comic romp from the master of sophisticated wit.

Cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine invites the eccentric spiritualist Madame Arcati to conduct a séance as research for his new novel. Wild complications ensue when she inadvertently summons the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, much to the chagrin of his current spouse, Ruth. First produced in 1941, Blithe Spirit remains one of Noël Coward’s most popular works. Coward wrote Blithe Spirit in just five days during World War II, with the intention of lightening the spirits of his fellow Londoner’s. The play initially ran for 1,997 performances, was adapted for film in 1945 (starring Rex Harrison,) and was transformed into the Broadway musical High Spirits in 1964.

Director, Paul Ford, has been teaching acting at the University of New Mexico since 1989 and is the founding director of Theatre-in-the-Making. Known for extensive work as an actor and director in Albuquerque-area theaters, he has received both local and national recognition for his teaching and directing. Paul Ford worked for a number of years in northern California as an actor, director and theatre educator after graduating from U.C Davis with a degree in Dramatic Arts. After founding drama education programs in Sacramento theatres, art centers and schools, Paul moved to the southwest to create an educational division for New Mexico Repertory Theatre. In 1989, he founded Theatre-in-the-Making where he still serves as Artistic Director, and began teaching acting courses at UNM. Paul was the theatrical director for the television show “Fences: Assumptions of Culture”, which received the Grand Award for Children’s Programming at the New York Festivals. In 1998, he was given the Albuquerque Arts Alliance Bravo Award for Excellence in Arts Education.

An extraordinary production team is collaborating to create the fabulous world of Blithe Spirit. Magnificent period costumes have been designed by Prof. Dorothy Baca and lighting design is by senior design for performance major Michael Hidalgo, who is mentored by Associate Prof. William Liotta. The set design is by Emmy-award winning designer, Dahl Delu who has worked as a Designer/Art Director in Theatre, Television, Film, and Opera. He holds an MFA in Design for Theatre from The University of Minnesota and a BA in Design for Theatre from San Francisco State University. His design credits feature productions both on and off-Broadway as well as designs for numerous prestigious regional theatre companies, including Minnesota’s Guthrie Theatre. At UNM, Dahl teaches in the Design for Performance program, including classes in Scenic Design for Theatre, History of Design and Style, and Design Seminar. His current focus is on fine art, and his oil paintings are shown in local art galleries and have been selected for several juried painting exhibitions. His paintings and theatrical designs may be seen at delugedesign.com.

The talented cast for this production includes Kyle Bible as Dr. George Bradman, Katie Farmin as Edith, Jenny Hoffman as Ruth Condomine, Kim Jennings as Mrs. Bradman, Maymie Mitchell as Elvira Condomine, Carly Moses as Madame Arcati, and Harrison Sim as Charles Condomine.

Performances of Blithe Spirit are April 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30pm and April 21 and 28 at 2:00pm in Rodey Theatre, located in the Center for the Arts on UNM’s main campus. Ticket prices are $15 General admission, $12 UNM Faculty & Seniors, and $10 UNM Staff & all Students. Tickets are available at the UNM Ticket Offices located at the UNM Bookstore, Central and Cornell, or the Arena (The Pit), University and Avenida Caesar Chavez, and by calling (505) 925-5858. Tickets may also be purchased online at unmtickets.com. More information is available online at http://theatre.unm.edu or by calling 277-4332.

Photo credit: (left to right) Harrison Sim as Charles Condomine, Carly Moses as Madame Arcati, Jenny Hoffman as Ruth Condomine, photo by Pat Berrett

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University of New Mexico
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