“It's a sad reflection on society how many people are shocked by honesty... and how few by dishonesty.”
I'm on a play reading kick lately, I think because my SPTs reminded me how very few things I've actually read/seen, especially of late. This was not a first read for me - I've read plenty of Noel Coward, and this was one of them I had read in the past. However, it's been a lot of years, and I remembered next to none of it.
Coward has a brilliant way with witty dialogue. It never feels like he's trying too hard to be clever, but the repartee is always sharp. This play is the story of an unfortunate, though comedic, series of events set off by a seance in the house of the Condomines. Charles Condomine wants to research a character for a book, and hopes that watching Madame Arcati perform a seance will give him the right vocabulary for his protagonist. What he doesn't account for, however, is that the seance not only succeeds in connecting him, his wife, and his guests with the spirit world, but manages to bring his first wife over to the side of the living - with Charles the only one who can see or hear her. Events unfold amusingly from then on.
I'm not a huge fan of reading plays, actually, because they are almost never as good on paper as they are in action. That's by design - plays are written to be staged, the words given life by performers. Reading them is a colder experience, even for an actor. However, I simply don't have the time and funds to see quality productions of everything, so reading them tends to be a lot more accessible. This is a fun read, especially because Coward's wordplay is always so enjoyable.