Focus on the familiar
Destiny Bunney, Jeff Ames and Zhané Serrano perform onstage during a media preview night for “Blithe Spirit” Thursday, Sept. 7, while director Marla Allsopp watches from the audience seating inside Masquers Theater in Soap Lake.
GABRIEL DAVIS/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD
Jeff Ames, Sheila Massey, Michelle Adams, Destiny Bunney and Blane Schafer will be back on stage over the weekend and for other upcoming showings of “Blithe Spirit.”
Jeff Ames, Michelle Adams, Destiny Bunney, Sheila Massey and Blane Schafer perform “Blithe Spirit” during the Sept. 7 media night at Soap Lake’s Masquers Theater.
The Masquers Theater, located at 322 Main Ave. E. in Soap Lake, was founded in 1979 by Bob and Shirley Dunlop. According to the theater’s website, early Masquers' performances included “Blithe Spirit,” a new production that will premiere Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week.
Staff Writer | September 14, 2023 1:30 AM
SOAP LAKE — The Masquers Theater in Soap Lake will be premiering Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit this weekend. The show will run through Oct. 1 every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and every Sunday at 2 p.m., according to the theater’s website.
“Blithe Spirit” marks the opening of the Masquers’ new theater season, said the play’s director, Marla Allsopp, who is also on the Masquers Theater board of directors.
“So what I would hope is that when people come to it, they enjoy and that way they laugh, they have a good time, and they get taken away for a little bit in a fun story that is really one of Noel Coward’s most popular shows,” said Allsopp. “It's one many, many people are familiar with, so I hope that we do it justice and that people enjoy it as, honestly, it's part of theater canon.”
General admission tickets are $16, senior and student discounted tickets are $12 and tickets for children 11 and younger are $10, said the theater website.
Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” is a farce in three acts that originally opened in London’s West End in March 1941, according to the website. The play’s plot concerns novelist Charles Condomine after he becomes haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, whom only he can see, as she attempts to disrupt Charles' new marriage.
“Auditions were in July, so they've been practicing for almost like, six, seven weeks now,” said Allsopp. “And it's been going great. It's a very, very, I guess line-intensive play because it's Noel Coward. That's what he does. He writes a lot of lines and a lot of character interaction. And the cast has been awesome with that. They have had a really good time working with each other and, you know, finding the funny parts, because it is a comedy.”
Allsopp, also a drama teacher at Ephrata High School, said that she has been involved with Masquers since 2018, and this is the third play she has directed for the theater. She said she began directing during the COVID-19 pandemic with added restrictions and challenges with their production.
“Last season was really our first, quote-unquote, ‘normal’ season from COVID, and we started seeing a real resurgence of audiences, especially at the end, and our last show closed in June, so I’m hoping that continues…People are starting to come back to the arts in force,” said Allsopp.
The cast includes actors and actresses from throughout the Columbia Basin, Alsopp said. There are characters portrayed by people from Wilson Creek, Moses Lake and Ephrata.
“We've been having a great time,” said Allsopp. “Everybody has been doing a fantastic job. It's a huge commitment. We rehearse four nights a week and they’re two-and-a-half-hour rehearsals. Everybody has other jobs, everybody does other things, so they come after work and they spend that time. They also have to dedicate the time to learning their lines, you know, outside of the rehearsals that we do. So the commitment that the actors have to this production is pretty astounding.”
Allsopp said she was the one who pitched “Blithe Spirit” for the new season.
“I reread it and thought, ‘Oh, this is super fun. There's a lot of fun stuff in it.’ So I pitched it and got it, so I was very excited,” said Allsopp. “This year the focus was on … familiarity shows that people will go ‘Oh, I know that show, I'd really like to see that.’”
Allsopp also said she wanted to emphasize how much the theater appreciates the support they receive from their audiences and the community.
“This area really supports the arts and we appreciate it so much because it's so fun to do what we do,” she said.
For more information on showings and ticket prices, visit www.masquers.com.
Gabriel Davis may be reached at email@example.com. Download the Columbia Basin Herald app on iOS and Android.
322 Main Ave. E.
Soap Lake, WA 98851
Fri., Sat., Sun. Sept. 15-Oct. 1
Fri. & Sat. 7:30 p.m.
Sundays: 2 p.m.
General admission: $16
Senior and student: $12
Children 11 and younger: $10