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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

October 12, 2009

Justin Tyler Lewis, Charles in Blithe Spirit

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 11:47 am

Q: Justin, do you think Charles makes the right choices over the course of the play?  How do you relate to his choice?

A: What a serendipitous question.  Only the other night, I discussed with Julian the fact that Noel Coward does a great job of balancing the audience’s judgment of each character throughout the play.  At no point during Blithe Spirit is any character depicted as a person making entirely unsavory decisions.  Of course, the play progresses dynamically.  It ebbs and flows and the characters are flawed, but I don’t think Charles makes right or wrong decisions – he makes decisions that are dictated by the turns of events.  He is driven to his conclusions by the powerful hand of circumstance.  Because Coward structures the play in such a equitable manner, the audience is never asked to point their finger at any of the characters.  This helps to create a great relationship between actors and audience.

The implausibility of the events in this play presented some of the greatest challenges of this piece and this character.  Of course, plays often center on bizarre or unlikely circumstances, but the resurrection of a deceased spouse is a particularly far-fetched event.  As a result, I found that I related to Charles not on the basis of experience or circumstance, but on the basis of intent.  I haven’t had two wives – or one for that matter!  But I have been stuck in impossible situations and needed the confidence, trust, and understanding of another person.  And so, Charles and Justin have in common the strength and desire to fight in this “battle of wills.”


(Center: Justin Tyler Lewis as Charles in Blithe Spirit)



(Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Justin Tyler Lewis as Charles and local actress Jan Gilbert as Elvira)


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