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Blithe Spirit

From Academic Kids

Blithe Spirit (1941) is a comic play written by Noel Coward which takes its title from Shelley's poem To a Skylark. The action of the play centres around socialite Charles Condomine being haunted by the ghost of his first wife Elvira following a sťance, and Elvira's continued (and increasingly desperate) efforts to disrupt Charles' current marriage. Aside from some excellent dialogue and comic scenes, the play is also notable for the splendid comic character of Madame Arcati, the eccentric medium.

The play did provoke a small outcry at the time of its first performances, as it was seen to be possibly making fun of death at the height of World War II; however, such objections were quickly forgotten and the play went on to set all manner of British box-office records. Its mark of 1,997 consecutive performances in the West End was only eventually beaten by Boeing Boeing in the 1970s. It was also made into a successful film directed by David Lean and starring Rex Harrison.

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