Tom Wilbur has directed more than 20 productions on the Sampson Community Theatre stage, but none have meant as much as his upcoming show.
“Gary Melvin always wanted me to do this one, so this is for him,” Wilbur said about the next production planned for the theatre’s stage. “Blithe Spirit” is on the schedule for September, but Wilbur is looking to cast the production pretty soon.
“Blithe Spirit” is a comic play by Noel Coward. The story line, according to Wilbur, is about socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant Madame Arcati to his house to conduct a seance, hoping to gather material for his next book.
When his scheme backfires, he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, who will be played by local star, Erica Miller.
“This play truly brings a lot of laughter to the stage,” Wilbur said. “Set in England, I’ve had people concerned about having an English accent. I like to say, ‘If you have a good one, we want to hear it. But if you don’t have a good one, don’t try.’”
Auditions are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 4, at 10 a.m. at the theatre. Wilbur is holding auditions for the following six roles:
Charles Condomine — a novelist. Charles is bright, sophisticated, articulate, and debonair but at the mercy of his wives, past and present. His interest in spiritualism as a subject for a novel leads Charles to ask Madame Arcati to dinner and a seance. He is skeptical but becomes a believer when the ghost of his first wife appears—and stays.
Ruth Condomine — Charles’s second wife. Ruth is witty and sophisticated, and quite the society matron. She’s is a bit stuffy and a little predictable. She is convinced that Charles has lost his mind when Elvira appears. Ruth acts as a concerned wife, trying to restore Charles to normalcy.
Madame Arcati — the local spiritualist and medium. Elderly but spry, Madame Arcati comes into the play talking to an eight-year-old contact on the other side. She truly is in contact with the other world and inadvertently is the “medium” through which Elvira is called back to this one. She is eccentric, effusive and boisterous.
Dr. George Bradman — a good friend of the Condomines who is invited to dinner and the seance. He is entirely skeptical of anything to do with the occult but tries his utmost to go along with the proceedings for the sake of Charles’ research.
Violet Bradman — Dr. Bradman’s wife. Simple and naive, she is quite excited about being in the presence of the medium, whom she finds fascinating.
Edith — the Condomine’s new maid. She is nervous and tears around at breakneck speed trying to do things right and make a good impression.
Performances of “Blithe Spirit” will be held Sept. 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. and matinees will be Sept. 23 and 30 at 2:30 p.m.
Wilbur’s last production on the SCT stage was “The Odd Couple, Female Version” performed in October 2017. In addition to directing nearly two dozen of his own productions, Wilbur has performed on the stage in 17 shows.