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Sophomore Kirby Thigpen as Nora Helmer in student-directed play “A Doll’s House.” | Hillsdale College Theatre Department

Most pro­fessors and nov­elists take sab­bat­icals to get inspi­ration for their research, but not this time. 

Blithe Spirit, directed by Michael Beyer, will run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. in the Markel Auditorium. 

The sto­ryline centers around nov­elist Charles Con­domine, played by senior John Tassef, who is trying to get ideas for his next book. One of the char­acters in his book is a medium, the con­ductor of a séance, so he invites real-life medium Madame Arcati and a couple friends over to perform a real séance.

Expecting it to be a joke, Con­domine acci­den­tally summons the ghost of his late wife, Elivira, played by junior Olivia Kroh, cre­ating con­flict with his current wife Ruth, played by junior Maureen Martin. 

“I think that this is gonna be a really awesome show to be in the audience for because of all the crazy special effects and stage-magic; there’s just a lot of very cool things like that on the tech­nical side,” said junior Brooklyn Little, who plays Madame Arcati. “You def­i­nitely don’t want to miss it. It’s really wacky, but also the cos­tumes are so elegant and beau­tiful. It’s going to be a really fun time.”

27 stu­dents showed up for audi­tions, but the cast was limited to seven stu­dents, spanning all grades. The tech­nical crew includes stu­dents working in the scene shop, costume shop, and lighting department, and two student stage man­agers, junior Polyxeni Drath and sophomore Mary Kearney. 

“I was so intim­i­dated, going in, because it’s such a small cast,” said freshman Fiona Mully.  “I’m the only freshman, and so I was worried about intruding on this dynamic that already existed; but I didn’t need to worry about that at all. Everyone is so kind, tal­ented, and professional.” 

Three out of the seven members got COVID-19 early on in the semester, and had to resort to Zoom prac­tices. After quar­an­tining, their first full cast rehearsal was Sept 13.

“I haven’t slept in a month and a half,” Beyer said. “I only joke, a little. It’s busy, and it’s stressful. It’s a lot to try and get done in a short amount of time. You just got to keep your head above water and keep the energy level high. That’s where the cast really has delivered. They’ve risen to the chal­lenge of putting this on its feet under all of the circumstances.”