'Bell, Book and Candle' to open Friday

Posted 10/13/18

The Pumphouse Players will serve up an enchanting evening of love and witchcraft with its upcoming production of "Bell, Book and Candle." Opening Friday at 8 p.m., the performance will be presented …

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'Bell, Book and Candle' to open Friday


The Pumphouse Players will serve up an enchanting evening of love and witchcraft with its upcoming production of "Bell, Book and Candle." Opening Friday at 8 p.m., the performance will be presented at The Legion Theatre, 114 W. Main St. in Cartersville.

"I was serving on the play reading committee when planning for our current season was going on," said the play's director, Suzanne Husting. "A fellow committee member, Tony Bowers, asked whether we had ever done 'Bell, Book and Candle.' All of us were familiar with the classic movie starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, but none of us realized that the 1958 film began life as a play in 1948. However, a diligent search in our script library turned up a well-worn copy.

"We were immediately intrigued with this witty, romantic, dramatic piece. It's a play that's really hard to pin down — it's set in the Christmas and New Year's season; it concerns a coven of modern-day witches living and practicing in New York; and it's the story of one witch, Gillian Holroyd, deciding that she would like to experience life, and possibly love, as a 'normal' everyday person. We actually had a hard time deciding where to schedule the play — Christmas, Valentine's or Halloween? But the October slot won out."

Following its opening performance, "Bell, Book and Candle" will be presented Oct. 20, 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 21 at 3 p.m.

"I saw the movie when it was first released," Husting said. "It has intrigued me from the start, enough so that I have my own copy. And I think our Cartersville audiences will adore this romance, laced with both comic and dramatic elements, and more than a pinch [of] the occult.

"We've set the play in 1962, the early 'Mad Men' era, pre-'Rosemary's Baby,' when the idea that the neighbors in your New York brownstone might be witches was still intriguing, rather than scary. Still, there's a bit of an edge. We have really hooked onto the concept that, throughout time in song and literature and poetry, love has been described as enchantment, being under a spell of something magical and irresistible. That makes this play perfect for Halloween. And for a date night."

Under Husting's direction, the cast of "Bell, Book and Candle" will consist of Stacy King and Brian Guynn as the play's lead characters, Gillian Holroyd and Shep Henderson; Tony Bowers and Sandy Cunningham as Holroyd's relatives — brother, Nicky Holroyd and Aunt Queenie; and Kip Henderson as Sidney Redlitch.

"Gillian is a powerful witch, who has become tired of her current way of living and longs to meet someone not like her magical family," King said. "Her wish is granted when she gets to know her attractive tenant who lives upstairs in her building. She wants to win his affection the old-fashioned way, but has to change her plan when she finds out that he is engaged to an old rival.

"What drew me to this play was the character of Gillian. The play was originally written in 1950 and our production is set in 1962. Neither of those time periods was a particularly progressive time for women, but Gillian is definitely a woman who knows her own mind. She has a sensual side and isn't afraid to show it. I was surprised at that element, considering when it was written. The play is sexy, romantic and isn't about giving everything up for love, but recognizing what is important. That appealed to me. When I read this play, I knew I had to audition for this role."

Tickets for "Bell, Book and Candle" are $18 for general admission. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.