Blithe Spirit Essay, Research Paper
Anthony J. Perrotta
October 3, 1999
Frankly, I was amazed by the set of Blithe Spirit. I am not sure whether it was because I had a hand in building it and all of the skills I acquired in doing so or just the fact that it was a great set. Either way I was extremely impressed.
Seeing the set from the front, back, and even above gave me a wider scope of how it worked and how it was put together. I paid special attention to two main aspects of the set; the making and the small intricacies of it.
Everything was accounted for when it came to masking. Places to dress privately in the wings, carpet on the stairs and tape on the doors, hard and soft tormentors and the traveling blacks were all used together to mask both unwanted sound and light.
As far as the small stuff, I was amazed by how profoundly different the set looked from different angles and distances. From the audience the stage looked laden with tile or hardwood floors and the walls looked rich with texture and depth. From the stage though, the “wood” floors looked obviously fake and so did the tile, the walls were rather flat and the small trinkets looked cheap. What an art of deception.
The one thing that I wanted to do from the very start of the run of Blithe Spirit was to see the last scene in which Ruth and Elvira begin tearing up the house. I didn?t really get a chance to see the set played upon or the costumes while the actors were on stage but I was not as curious about those things as I was about the last scene, so, I went to the sound booth.
When the first shoe dropped, actually a curtain rod, the audience gasped. I could tell that they were not sure whether or not it was supposed to happen. In that one moment, the set was more like an actor than I?ve ever seen. It took on a characteristic and made the audience doubt themselves.
I had no idea how much of an impact that small scene would have but soon found that it was tremendous. From the curtains over the door falling to the lights flickering, it really seemed as if invisible, super natural forces were at work. Each time something happened, there was a purpose and every thing built up on one another. This made it seem as though the characters were getting more and more irritated by Mr. Condomine?s disparaging comments. I could imagine the house being completely wrecked when Mr. Condomine finally returned and at last I suddenly knew what haunted house?s in horror movies looked like before and how they got the way they were.
All in all it was a fascinating play with an exclamation point at the end of it. The simplicity of rigging the set and props that produced such a splendid effect deserved a curtain call of its? own.