Blithe Spirit

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. from Nov. 25-Jan. 13
7:30 p.m.
Every Sat. and Sun. from Dec. 2-16
1 p.m.
Every Sun. from Nov. 26-Dec. 17
7 p.m.
Every Wed. from Dec. 20-27
1 p.m.
Every Sat. from Dec. 23-Jan. 13
1 p.m.
Every Sun. from Jan. 7-14
1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

If the ghostly emissaries haunting A Christmas Carol are too morally upright to abide, the Guthrie Theater is offering an apparition of a more unseemly disposition courtesy of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit. Delivered with Coward’s signature dry martini wit, this supernatural farce involves a married novelist who, in an effort to give credibility to his paranormal-themed latest work, enlists a psychic to host a séance. Unfortunately for the novelist, the phantom responding to the summons is none other than his deceased former wife, whose quarrelsome nature seems to have been further exacerbated by death. Refusing to depart the mortal realm, the scorned specter sets out to make the household—particularly the man’s second wife—absolutely miserable. The play is lighthearted, with verbal jests and slapstick entanglements, but not without satirical suggestions involving the frailty of reason when opposed by desire. This theme is personified by Madame Arcati, an eccentric clairvoyant whose beliefs are scoffed at until they become the only means of exorcising the ghostly irritant. Brazenly bizarre, the character remains one of Coward’s most ludicrously unhinged creations, especially when portrayed by Sally Wingert, a performer with great comic sensibilities.