Three Questions with: Diane Montgomery, guest director of TRC’s “Blithe Spirit”

by rcnewsblog on February 16, 2015

MontgomeryA guest theater director is making her Roanoke College debut as leader of Theatre Roanoke College’s winter production this week.

Dr. Diane Montgomery is guest director for the College’s rendition of “Blithe Spirit,” by Noel Coward.

The play is a comedy about a man named Charles Condomine, who accidently summons his dead wife, Elvira. Back from the dead, she tries to reclaim her remarried husband, and Charles gets caught in the midst of two feuding wives and a tricky situation.

The comedy opens on Wednesday, Feb. 18 st Olin Theater and runs through Saturday, Feb. 21.

Montgomery has directed plays at numerous institutions, including Union College in Barbourville, Ky., Shorter University in Rome, Ga., Missouri State University, Soldiers’ Theatre in Vicenza, Italy, and Radford University.

Before directing, Montgomery received degrees from Tusculum College, Missouri State and Union Institute and University.

She began her work on “Blithe Spirit” last fall and held auditions in early December. The production has been in full swing ever since students arrived back on campus in early January.

We recently spoke with Montgomery about her first stint directing a TRC production.

RC News Blog: Why did you decide to come to Roanoke College?

Diane Montgomery: I’ve always wanted to be at Roanoke College… I was working on my doctorate and taking a class where I had to interview a lot of college theater departments, and so when I interviewed here… I [thought] the facilities [were] amazing… So I would have taken a job here if there had been one for me. I took jobs elsewhere, but my husband continues to work in Roanoke, so I left my job in Kentucky and got back in contact just to see how things were going and hoping that maybe some door would open. And sure enough, they had a show they needed to direct. So that’s how I got here. And I’m finding I really like it. I think the students are amazing. I’ve been really impressed.

RC News Blog: Tell us about the cast and crew of “Blithe Spirit.”

Diane Montgomery: We have theater majors, theater minors, and then people who aren’t in theater who just want to [get involved]. It’s a good mix, and we have a good mix backstage too. There are a lot of students involved. Lights and sound and set building. George Arthur is the technical director and he teaches a class, a stagecraft class, and they’re building the set… and then he has people in other classes that are doing sound. I have a student designing the lights, which is really exciting. I also have a student doing the costume design. They have been really good about working hard.

RC News Blog: How and why did you choose “Blithe Spirit” as the winter production?

Diane Montgomery: Since “Dracula” [which TRC performed last November] was really heavy in the boys, I was looking at something with more female roles. They suggested something light and fun, since “Dracula” was kind of dark. So this play has absolutely no moral to it. It’s totally fun, funny. It’s just comedy. From beginning to end. It’s just a fun show.

To buy tickets, click here.

-By Hannah Cline ’15

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