Friday, October 21, 2011

Ghosts, Penfold Theatre Company and Breaking String Theatre Company at Hyde Park Theatre, October 13 - November 5 (ALT Review 1)

Babs George in Ghosts (image: Kimberley Mead)

by Hannah Bisewski

Penfold Theatre Company and the Breaking String Theater joined forces to stage Ghosts, producing a well considered work that breathes a fresh vitality into a familiar story. Revolutionary reevaluation of old convention is precisely the theme of Ghosts.

Kim Adams (image: Kimberley Mead)Settling into their seats in the cramped, angular space of the Hyde Park Theatre, the audience sees a dusty, dirty, though elegant, Victorian-era living room. A dim chandelier hangs from a cobweb-lined ceiling. Given the play’s title, an uninformed audience member could reasonably guess that the cast will present a horror story.

Attractive young housemaid Regina Engstrand enters to clean the room, only to be interrupted by her scheming unwelcome father.One has no idea how entangled even the maid is in this family’s self-destructive legacy. Only during the confrontational conversation between the house’s matriarch Helene Alving and the family pastor, Manders, prompted by estate affairs following Captain Alving’s death, do the family secrets begin to spill forth. There are many, further complicated by Helene’s attempt to keep Osvald, her recently returned only son, from discovering any of them.

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