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Calling Noel Coward PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward is a comedic play about a man who goes to a seance and is visited by his dead wife... who then refuses to leave. She causes trouble and tries to get him to leave his second wife. In the real world, the only people that refuse to leave are the so-called psychics themselves, who continue to bilk the public and mislead the curious.

There is a new production of Blithe Spirit, one with a bit of a twist: they're holding auditions for actual psychic to join the cast. According to the Entertainment Weekly article:

Open auditions will take place on Jan. 22 at the famous theater district restaurant Sardi's in New York City. All hopefuls will have -- get this -- just two minutes to either "conjure the spirit of Noel Coward or to display any psychic abilities." Talk about pressure! I just hope Coward's spirit has left the premises on Jan. 22 so patrons can enjoy their steak tartare in peace.

Hey, we've been holding auditions for nearly 40 years, and we pay more! And despite our efforts, we've found no one who's been able to meet the above qualifications. Somehow, I think this Broadway production may succeed in actually finding someone they think fits the bill, but on behalf of the JREF, I'd like to invite them to have us test the winning candidate. After all, $1,000,000 could fund much of the production.

It should be noted, however, that the JREF will take no responsibility if Noël Coward should decide to follow suit and not return to the netherworld. Blithe or not, he who calls up spirits is ultimately responsible for them. And given Coward's atheism, he might stick around just to annoy those who proffer an afterlife that he probably didn't believe in.

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written by Rogue Medic, January 17, 2009
I predict that Noel Coward is still dead.

All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.

I am big. It's the psychics that got small.
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Coward's turning in his grave
written by MadScientist, January 17, 2009
All psychics I've seen to date are dull and dim-witted people (but perhaps not as dim-witted as their victims); I'm sure Coward didn't have that in mind when he wrote the play. Blithe Spirit is one of my favorites - short but hilarious. I'm afraid a 'real' psychic would only ruin the (ahem) spirit of the play. I'd rather have an actress (an actor would never do; besides, the script calls for a female medium) in gypsy rags replete with beads, false mole, crystal ball - the works. Mark Twain or Shakespeare might even recommend dead cats to swing around, or fillets of fenny snake, and stuff like that.
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Paying for lunch?
written by FrankH, January 18, 2009
"I think this Broadway production may succeed in actually finding someone they think foots the bill"
Are they looking for somebody to pay for lunch or are they looking for somebody who fits the bill?

EDITED BY JEFF WAGG: Noted, and corrected. Thank you.
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written by Starthinker, January 18, 2009
Noel Coward is dead? I was talking with him just yesterday. He didn't mention any play. I'm assuming the promoters of this play will say something like "With a real psychic in the cast, no telling what may happen during our live performances!!" Or would that be after-live performance?
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Let them try channeling Margaret Rutherford
written by markbellis, January 18, 2009
Professional 'psychics' can only act well enough to scam money out of people who've lost family members. Most of them can't even keep themselves from looking like someone who deserves to be locked away for life in a prison populated by large, inventive relatives of people who've been swindled out of their life savings by con artists like themselves.
I hope this is only a publicity stunt, since this is a role that calls for a real talent like Margaret Rutherford, not a hack!
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written by jeff in chicago, January 18, 2009
Now that Sylvia doesn't have here Montel gig, she may be looking for a new venue for her act.
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written by BillyJoe, January 18, 2009
Well, I don't know what to say so I'll just say that.
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written by Roo, January 19, 2009
Isn't there a danger here that, if a real psychic (smilies/cheesy.gif!!) gets the role of Madame Arcati and performs in front of folks eating steak tartare, she might inadvertently call up the spirits of the dead cattle? I'm worried - I hate to think of the scene if a herd of deceased beefsteak heifers turn up, demanding their fillets back...

Noel Coward wouldn't be seen dead in this ridiculous version of his play. Oh, hang on.... smilies/wink.gif
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written by cwniles, January 19, 2009
Any true thespian could conjure up the spirit of Noel Coward, no mysticism involved.
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written by BillyJoe, January 19, 2009
Oh, no, cows love to be eaten, that is their soul purpose in life and quite normal for them. However, there are a few human beings who also like to be eaten, but they are a bit strange.
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The bird
written by Ian Mason, January 21, 2009
"Hail to thee, blythe spirit! Bird thou never wert"
Perhaps the play will get the bird? From some mad dogs maybe, but certainly from this Englishman!
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