Meet the cast of Blithe Spirit – Francie Goodwin-Davies is Madame Arcati

francieWhat is your role in Blithe Spirit? My role in this production is that of the Character of Madame Arcati.  Madame Arcati is both preposterous and serious, dotty and practical. She is a martini swilling medium who enjoys sniffing ectoplasm.

What brought you out for this show? I came out for this production because Madam Arcati is a role I have always wanted to play. She is so out there but so real in many ways. She believes in herself completely. She is an incredibly strong viewed woman who is rather good at barking out orders. She reminds me of a dotty gym teacher. Meryl Streep said “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s about finding the similarity in what is apparently different, and then finding myself in there.” I’m having a tremendous time finding myself in Madame Arcati.

What is your background in theatre?  I made my first stage appearance at the age of 5 in a Christmas play at a hospital that my Mom was working at. I never looked back.  I took drama all through school. I spent a summer at the Banff school of fine arts studying. I belonged to Theatre Calgary Youth Theatre for many years.  I graduated from Vic Comp Performing arts in Edmonton and went to both U of C in BFA and U of A.I had the extreme pleasure of being in my first Fringe play a couple of years ago. It was a rousing success! I try and take as many courses to keep updated in my love of the theatre. I am proud to say that I have been a member of Walterdale since 1976 (I was very tiny when I joined). I have been in countless shows here at Walterdale and was lucky enough to take part in about 10 melodramas when Walterdale presented them on the main stage at the Citadel. I also was incredibly lucky to have been married (for real) on stage and had the whole wedding at Walterdale. I played the part of a very  pregnant woman who was the Mistress of ceremonious for one of the Melodramas at the Citadel. Then, shortly after giving birth, one of the nurses rushed in to my room excitedly announcing to the other staff, “It was you in that show, I knew it! You really were pregnant!”

What do you connect to most about this show? I most connect to this play because of the British humour. I love that it takes place in the 1940’s. Coward wrote it because he felt that the Brits needed cheering up it was a difficult time during the tensions at the beginning of the war. My dad was from England and I can sometimes hear his dry wit and extremely witty replies in some of the dialogue.

Got any good ghost stories? Ghost and Psychics. Yes, while doing a show here at Walterdale many years ago I was backstage waiting to make and entrance when I heard my name said in a stage whisper just as I was to go on, I glanced over my shoulder and there was no one there. I can on assume that it was Walter our resident ghost. I have had a few things happen that were hard to explain. I don’t think that I am psychic but when the phone rings I can always tell which Child is calling home! I’ve been involved in some weird situations, lets just say that!

How are you finding Noel Coward? Doing this Noel Coward show is very challenging! The pace, the accents, the 1940’s dialogue all make this show a huge challenge, but fun! Of course also making Madame Arcati believable is also challenging but  tremendously fun!

What are you enjoying the most about this show? The people, all of the people from the crew, the painters, costumes, actors directors. Everyone. It is so amazing to be in a group of people with the same love and the same drive. The hugs and the love. And of course, in my heart of hearts I love to hear reactions from the audience. It means we’ve  done a good job!

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