The poster for “Blithe Spirit”, written by Noel Coward and to be performed by the Vienna Woods Players. Submitted Photo

VIENNA — The Vienna Woods Players are getting ready for their next production, a play described by the author Noel Coward as “an improbable farce in three acts”.

Tim Davis of the Vienna Woods Players sat down with the Franklin Journal to talk more about the upcoming production as well as his time with the Vienna Woods Players. Davis stated that he was scouted by the Sandy River Players for their production of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and that is how he got started in the theater.

“I got scoped out for my first play in Farmington by Jamie Decker, who came and watched me walking around the ER and invited me to do a play, mostly because I had the right body to do “Chief” Bromden,” Davis said.

Davis estimates the age of the Vienna Woods Players to be about roughly 17 years old and the group’s method of measuring the timeline is a bit unorthodox.

“The best way we know is that Cheryl [Herr-Rains], who started this group, is a retired art teacher from Gardner,” he said. “She’s a potter and an artist, and she makes a commemorative mug for each production. Don Petersen [a member of the theatre group] figures he has about 17 of them, so that’s how we tell our history.”

According to Davis, the Vienna Woods Players used to share a stage with the Vienna Historical Players for their annual productions, but several years ago the two groups went their separate ways, which allowed the Vienna Woods Players to experiment with longer plays.


“In the past Cheryl had found a book of plays,” Davis explained, “and I don’t remember the gentleman’s name but he wrote it, but it was just a mass of plays that were performed in small town America, back in early 1900s, or whatever. We used to do some of those and she would kind of trim them down to fit the hour time slot and then later just to keep it easy for us oldsters, but especially this year, we’re really stretching ourselves to do a full length three act play.”

The play in question is “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward, which was chosen partially because it fit the dynamic of the group and the types of play they like to perform, which are murder mystery and comedy.

A view of one of the Vienna Woods Players production from previous years. Submitted Photo

“It’s somewhat of a mystery,” he said. “It’s a ghost story, and it’s a comedy so it was perfect for us.”

Davis explained in an email that Coward wrote the play in five days after his London flat and studio were destroyed in the Blitz.

“He took an idea for a ghost story that he had been thinking about for years but wasn’t able to write due to the horrors of war at that time,” Davis wrote. “By writing a complete farce, he was able to lift the spirits [unintended pun, but pretty good one at that] of his fellow Englishmen and women.”

Davis also stated that next year would be Coward’s 125 birthday, and so the troupe wanted to get a head start on celebrating the playwright.

“It will be 125 years in 2024, but hey – why wait when you can get some cake and ice cream?” Davis said.

Davis and the rest of the Vienna Woods Players have been practicing in his garage for the last month and a half. The production is set to debut on Thursday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Vienna Union Hall located at 5 Vienna Mtn. Rd.

Two more performances at the same time slot are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 11, and Saturday, Aug. 12. A matinee at 2 p.m. will also take place on that Saturday. Tickets are available at the door for $15 and and they will be offering refreshments for sale. For more information contact the the Vienna Woods Players at or visit them on Facebook.

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