Susan Penrice Tyrie directs The Stage Club’s performance of Noel Coward’s classic play Blithe Spirit, which wasfirst performed here in 1948. She’s enthusiastic that audiences today will enjoy it as much as they did 65 years ago.
Written during early World War II, this comedy broke box office records in the West End and Broadway. Have the comical moments and laughs endured for 70 years?
Yes. The read-throughs and rehearsals can testify to that. The lush language and Noel Coward’s biting wit have ensured this play a place among the classics.
Are the themes of the play as relevant today as when it was written?
The themes of love, relationships, romance, whimsy, fascination with our existence and an interest in the unknown are not only universal but timeless. Oh, and ghost stories will always be in vogue.
Why did you choose to stage this play?
The magical combination of mysticism, glamour and beauty struck me. Also the humour and romance – it really is a rom-com. And, I realised that this play was first performed in Singapore by The Stage Club in 1948 and again in 1976 so I’m very aware of The Stage Club’s heritage and its contribution to Singapore’s theatrical culture.
What is your favourite line or moment in the play?
My favourite line is uttered by Madame Arcati: “…time is the reef upon which all our frail mystic ships are wrecked”.
Do all the actors live in Singapore?
Our cast is made up of a mix of local talent and international actors who are based here. Everyone involved is a volunteer with a shared passion for theatre.
Tell us more about the Stage Club.
The Stage Club is Singapore’s oldest theatre company. For 68 years we’ve been producing an average of five productions per year covering the best of the English-language plays, including comedy, farce, melodrama, thrillers, musicals, dinner theatre, classic plays and, of course, straight drama. It’s a non-profit, community theatre group, open to all.
The cast and crew are generally made up of a mix of professionals and non-professionals. It certainly makes for a blithe community spirit to have experienced actors sharing skills and knowledge with new actors, who bring freshness to the mix.
There are many opportunities both on and off stage, and it is always wonderful to have new faces and talent.
For those who yearn to tread the boards or drop the red curtain
Membership is open to anyone interested in any aspect of theatre, including acting, music, lighting, costume, set design, marketing and more. The club is always on the lookout for volunteers with a passion for the theatre, whether on the boards or off. Experienced or not, it’s a great opportunity to find out what happens behind those curtains. Check their FB page for details of the forthcoming audition for the pantomime Little Red Riding Hood.
See Blithe Sprit from 23 to 26 October at 8pm at the DBS Arts Centre, Merbau Road. Tickets from Sistic.