If you’ve ever been accused of seeing the world in black and white, you make have taken some mild offense. But Elaine Bard, director of Ten Bucks Theatre’s new production of Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” would take that as a compliment.
Bard’s vision of “Blithe Spirit” actually is in black and white — Bard has imagined the entire production in grayscale, from the costumes to the props to the actors’ makeup. The effect heightens the experience for actor and audience member alike; it’s like a black and white movie from the early 1940s, the era in which the play is set.
“Even though the movie is in color, it still has that black and white feel,” said Bard, who also teaches drama at Orono Middle School. “It makes the actors carry themselves in a certain way. And the overall look is really fantastic. It heightens the whole experience. Even the food and drink is in grayscale.”
“Blithe Spirit” is a classic Noel Coward comedy, starring Ten Bucks stalwart Adam Cousins as Charles Condomine, a writer and socialite who organizes a seance at his house with the strange Madame Arcati (Andrea Herson Littlefield). Instead of contacting an interesting spirit to inspire a new book, however, Charles ends up his deceased wife Elvira (Katie Toole), who decides to haunt, annoy and harass him and his living wife, Ruth (Rebeckah Kay Perry).
“I think the play can speak to all of us, because we all wish we had one more chance with something or someone, but once you get it, the consequences may not be what you expect,” said Bard. “Plus, Noel Coward is just so entertaining. The language is wonderful and incredibly subtle.”
Bard hopes Ten Bucks’ production of “Blithe” is just the first in more area productions of classic plays by the likes of Coward.
“No one has done anything like this in the area, in terms of the black and white, experimental production style,” she said. “But I also hope it gets people excited about the classics. These are great plays that are still a lot of fun to see performed.”
“Blithe Spirit” will be performed at 7 p.m. April 4-5 and April 11-12 and 2 p.m. April 6 and 13 at Comins Hall at the Eddington-Clifton Civic Center on Route 9. Tickets to all performances are $10; cash or check only. Ten Bucks volunteers promise a special bonus surprise during the production. For more information on Ten Bucks Theatre performances and upcoming shows, visit tenbuckstheatre.org. or like them on Facebook.