Ghosts, Spirits and a Full Moon

Yesterday’s Full Moon
Blithe Spirit Poster

Yesterday, it rained most of the day, but we still got out. We went to the Maplewood-Richmond Heights high school and saw their production of Blithe Spirit. After the play, exiting the school’s auditorium, I saw the full moon shining through the remaining clouds. This Noël Coward play first debuted in London during 1941 and has since been made into several movies that are available for streaming. It is a comedy about death and ghosts that debuted during the horrors of the Blitz. The play is set at the English country home of a gentlemen author, Charles, who is researching his next book on the occult. He and his wife Ruth have invited over another couple and the French occultist Monsieur Arcati for a séance. The result of this ceremony is the accidental recalling from the spirit world of the ghost of Charles’s first wife, Elvira. Only Charles (and the audience) can see or hear Elvira, but she can make her presence known to the rest of the cast by “levitating” objects. Needless to say, Ruth is not amused by the presences of her predecessor and much comedy and conflict ensues. I was amazed at the production values in this high school play and we both highly enjoyed the show.

Ghosts Poster

Before Noël Coward wrote Blithe Spirit, while he was searching for a play’s idea involving ghosts, his first thoughts centered on an old house, haunted by specters from different centuries, with the comedy arising from their conflicting attitudes, but he could not get the plot to work. Because the evening’s play began at seven, we got home before ten. It was too early for bed; besides I was still to wound up from the theater. On YouTube, I began watching trailers from the different movie treatments of the play that have been shot over the years. Losing my soul once more to YouTube, I kept drilling down until I found a trailer for the BBC production of the comedy series Ghosts (HBO) that is based upon a young couple who inherits an old house, haunted by specters from different centuries.

Like with the hit comedy series The Office, this British original now has an American transplant that began on CBS but has since been picked up for streaming (Hulu). When the young couple first arrive at the mansion the ghosts are curious, until they learn that the couple’s plans include turning their home into a hotel. With their eternal peace endangered, the ghosts declare war on the couple and one of their number pushes the woman out of an upstairs window. She survives, but this near-death experience then allows her to both see and hear the ghosts. We’ve binged most of the first season and seen the relationship between the living and the dead evolve from “gorilla” warfare to an unsteady truce. This is exemplified in the episode where in order to raise some much-needed cash, the young couple rents out the mansion to a movie company that is filming a period drama. Let’s just say that the ghosts go full Hollywood.

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