Tag Archives: ghost

Blithe Spirit

Ghosts or Double Exposures ?

Nothing similar in the family albums but  in this family theatre program are some ghosts of a different kind on the stage of the Comedy  Theatre in Melbourne in 1945.  The  Blithe Spiritghost  in question is the spirit of a man’s first wife who turns up after a seance.  She can be seen  (and heard)  by the husband but not by the second wife or anyone else.

And of course the play is Blithe Spirit by the witty and cheeky Noel Coward.  Wikipedia reminds  us that ” the play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book.

The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance.    Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’s marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.”

But there are many more twist and turns before the end.

Perhaps they should have staged the show a block away in The Princess Theatre which has its own resident ghost, that of a baritone playing in Faust who died just off stage in 1888.

In May 1945 Australia was still at war with Japan and the Military Hospital in the suburb of Heidelberg was very busy. The hospital had a theatre and with a replica Blithe Spirit set constructed the whole cast was able to pile Blithe Spirit - backinto a bus and go to Heidelberg to put on the show one afternoon.

With patients, bed cases  and staff there was no standing room left, with some patients needing to sit in the orchestra pit.  A most appreciative audience.

Meanwhile just across the road from the Comedy Theatre was His Majesty’s Theatre which that same year staged  The Desert Song with Max Oldaker  and his interpretation of The Red Shadow which I wrote about in a previous post

Also in 1945 a film was made of Blithe Spirit with Rex Harrison as the male lead and the wonderful Margaret Rutherford as Madame Arcati who conducts the seance.

Australian TV viewers might see a slight overlapping of the theme with the recent ABC production of “Glitch”  where the fortunate/unfortunate husband has both his living and his dead wife in his life at the same time.

Whereas Noel Coward was strictly for the laughs, Glitch is a serious look at the “what if” situation.  It has been described as an Australian Gothic and much of the shooting was done on summer evenings in my old home towm, the old gold town of Castlemaine in Central Victoria.

Further connections to ghosts and double exposures can be found in this week’ Sepia Saturday post.

 

 

 

 

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Halloween in Caldecote

Halloween cardHalloween.   October 31st.  There are some families in Australia  who have good reason to pass on their ancestral Halloween traditions to their children while the Christian community celebrates October 31st  it in its own way as All Hallows Eve.

Usually it is a most unremarkable day in Australia.

But in other parts of the world  it is a time for  black cats, bats and spiders,  ghosts, skeletons, witches and wizards;  or pumpkins,  cobwebs, haunted houses  and graveyards

So this Halloween let us glide over to the  graveyard at The Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Caldecote, Huntingdonshire, a few miles south of Peterborough.

Caldecote-Church The church has now been converted into a private residence after having been de-consecrated in the mid 1970s  and the headstones  have been stacked against the church wall the last time I heard.

A_second_row_of_gravestones,_Caldecote_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1162330

Photo from Michael Trolove

Perhaps the ghosts rise up on the night  of October 31st to protest at having been disturbed.  There might even be some Tanseys and some Lawsons among them.  A perfect setting for all things supernatural.

Headstone Thomas Rebecca tanseyThis lonely church  is where my  grandfather’s grandparents, Thomas Tansey and Rebecca Lawson, were  married in 1834  Later they were buried  there  after all twelve of their children were christened there and five of their children  buried there.

Thomas-Reb-Marr-CertThere are three different spellings for the same person’s surname.  Thomas signs Tanser, the Curate writes Tansor and the headstone says Tansey.

But when Thomas was born in 1813 in Whittlesey to the east of Peterborough he was christened as Tansey.  That was the year that Richard Wagner was born, Napoleon invaded Russia and the USA declared war on the UK, a war which lasted 2 years

Further links to the colourful Halloween card can be seen at this week’s Sepia Saturday post

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