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The Spotlight: Designing Elvira in 'Blithe Spirit' at A Noise Within

December 1, 2010 | 12:00 pm

Blithe A love triangle among the Undead: No, it’s not the latest “Twilight” but “Blithe Spirit,” Noel Coward’s 1941 supernatural comedy featuring a sultry ghost working her vampire chic.

Elvira (Abby Craden), the late, high-maintenance first wife of writer Charles Condomine (Scott Lowell), is accidentally summoned during a séance and returns to plague Charles and his beleaguered second wife. “The script calls for her to be all gray — hair, clothes everything,” explains director Damaso Rodriguez. “But we went for more of a ‘True Blood’ look.”

A Noise Within's production sets the play in 1936 and imagines Elvira as a 1920s flapper with deep red lipstick and smoky eyes. “We wanted her to be sexy,” says costume designer E.B. Brooks, who cites Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice” as another influence. “It was all about finding the balance between looking dead but still being attractive. Elvira laughed herself to death listening to a BBC radio program at home, so we put the actress in a little silk romper. She's basically running around in her underwear for the whole play."

-- Charlotte Stoudt

At A Noise Within through Dec. 17. Click here for The Times review.

Photo: Abby Craden and Scott Lowell in "Blithe Spirit." Credit: Craig Schwartz.