The following was written by Box Office Manager Robin Dolan. Stay tuned for weekly dispatches from the Blithe Spirit rehearsal room!
In Blithe Spirit, chaos ensues after a British couple hosts a séance in their home. I have a friend Medusa who leads séances, and has even created a beautiful Victorian parlor in her house for this purpose. While she and I were talking about the play, Medusa offered to do a séance for the actors. This is an introduction to that supernatural event.
Doing psychic work is demanding. Being attentive to what other people are feeling and being supportive of them are absolutely central to the process. You also have to set the space so that, hopefully, something magical will happen. Medusa came early to our offices in Berkeley and, while waiting, did a tarot reading in the office. We looked at it together, and all signs pointed to a meaningful experience. We then went into the rehearsal hall to speak with the stage manager about how to set up the room. We set up a small table with a circle of chairs around it; Medusa had brought her own tablecloth, a photo of her grandfather, some candles, and the charms she uses while reading. We set these up, and she did some deep breathing to get herself centered. While the artistic team sat quietly on the other side of the room (surely wondering what in goodness’ name was about to happen) Medusa took my hand, and we ran around the table three times in order to draw a circle around the space: One draws a circle to create a special space, so that when one steps into the circle, it is as if you are entering a different world. Then I quietly left the room, and they began.
We’ll be posting another entry soon from someone who took part in the séance. I’ve heard from several actors and the stage manager that it was both moving and interesting, and that it has influenced what they may do in the show. If you’d like to learn more about Medusa and her séances, she can be found online at facebook.com/MedusasParlor.