ADAPTED BY EDWARD MORGAN
This play is a Greek tragedy compressed into a nineteenth-century drawing room. Written in 1881, Ghosts was Ibsen's outcry against a rigid, fearful society passing on its sins and psychoses as a kind of curse. To use syphilis as a metaphor for inherited sin was shocking enough. But to question the very moral and intellectual foundations of society - this was near heresy. The play was greeted with storms of indignation.
115 years later, Ghosts is a little too familiar. A woman struggles for intellectual freedom in a paternalistic society. A young artist is dying of a sexually-transmitted disease. A fundamentalist minister mouths platitudes and dogma and frets about his image. And at the story's heart there’s a truly dysfunctional, co-dependent family. Little wonder Ibsen was called "the diagnostician to an entire civilization."
This production premieres a new adaptation of the play, transplanting the story to coastal South Carolina, 1895. The characters of lower economic class are African-Americans; the upper-class white characters are of the fading, Southern aristocracy.
These changes introduce new wrinkles. By introducing the theme of race, they clarify and intensify the issues of class. It’s a worthy addition, as any discussion of inheritance and societal sins in this country cannot possibly avoid the legacy of slavery. The sins and wounds of our fathers are still visited upon us.
Ibsen wrote Ghosts to disturb, provoke, and perhaps even to change people's thinking. I hope this adaptation gives his play new clarity, greater resonance to our community, and at least some measure of its uncompromising ferocity.
“Edward Morgan provides fascinating, uncommon theater with his distinctive adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts.”
– Shepherd Express
“…a haunting and enthralling jaunt into the psyches of a dysfunctional family. Perfect in this element, Ghosts is a tragedy that’s a must-see.”
– City Edition
Lights: Linda Essig
Costumes: Dawna Gregory
Set: Kent Goetz
Sound: Edward Morgan