PLEASE NOTE: This production includes fog/haze effects.
THIS SHOW RUNS APPROX. 1-3/4 HOURS, including intermission.
THE HOUSE OPENS 45 MINUTES BEFORE CURTAIN. You may want to arrive early to enjoy the exhibit in our art gallery with refreshments ranging from coffee and cookies to beer and wine.
POST-SHOW DISCUSSION: Join the company of The Canterville Ghost for a post-show discussion following the Sunday matinee on March 25.
AUDIO-DESCRIPTION: The Sunday, April 8th performance will be audio-described, based on reservations. Click here for a description of this and other access services at TRP
About the Show
(company members are listed at the bottom, following the interview with the director)
It is said that the spirit of Simon Canterville has haunted the old Canterville mansion for hundreds of years, rattling his chains and making all sorts of mischief for anxious residents and servants alike. But when those plucky, indomitable Americans, the Otis family, move into the estate, it is Simon’s turn to be rattled. Brought to life with all the wit, humor, and winning charm of Wilde’s original story, The Canterville Ghost is a delightful ghost story with a difference.
Director LYNN MUSGRAVE draws on her depth of experience as director, actor, and sound designer; a talented cast and seasoned design team to deliver on the supernatural challenges of this production and spark the audience’s imagination.
Interview with the Director
Q: This is an adaptation of an Oscar Wilde children’s story — not a genre Wilde is widely known for. In your view, how is this story a departure from his typical style? In what ways do you think it is representative of his other work?
MUSGRAVE: I actually don’t find the short story a “departure” from his usual style; it is certainly a story accessible to children, given the twins and young lady in the story, but his prose and dialogue are pure Wilde. It’s charming, evocative, engaging, filled with memorable characters, humor, and irony.
Q: It is, in fact, a ghost story — but the tables are rather turned on the poor beleaguered ghost. Talk about how Wilde, and this adaptation, play with our typical perspective and make us sympathize with the ghost.
MUSGRAVE: Poor Sir Simon (The Ghost) has longed for his final rest for three centuries. Initially frightening and angry, he’s forced at last to confront inhabitants of Canterville Chase he can’t intimidate: the fearless, buoyant, modern Americans who’ve purchased the property. At the time Wilde wrote the short story, British manor houses were being snapped up by Americans with money and no real respect for centuries of tradition. The manor life was changing (Downton Abbey documented the phenomenon brilliantly) and nothing — including traditional housekeepers like dear Mrs. Umney or terrifying ghosts like Sir Simon — was going to stop it. Wilde actually seems to embrace this “progress” in his effervescent Otis family (the Americans); but we feel for both Sir Simon and Mrs. Umney despite their reluctance to change. Both tradition and progress have their place.
Q: While the central figure is, in fact, a ghost, it’s really more hilarious than horrifying. Where does the humor come from in this play?
MUSGRAVE: Like most of Wilde’s work, the humor comes from his unique ability to turn upper class British mores upside down. The dialogue (beautifully adapted and embellished by local playwright Marisha Chamberlain) is classic Wilde; the characters are unique and lovingly developed.
Q: The play presents a number of production challenges, particularly as relates to the manifestation of the ghost and his bag of tricks, as it were. Mindful of spoilers, what can you tell us about how your design and production team is handling these challenges?
MUSGRAVE: As written, Sir Simon disappears into walls, the ceiling, and clouds of fog. Obviously, our arena cannot accommodate most of that, but audiences should certainly expect fog, tricks of light, focus, sound, and other wee bits of magic I won’t reveal right now.
Q: How does our unique arena stage serve this show well? How much of our arena peripheral space will you be using?
MUSGRAVE: Oscar Wilde and The Ghost are our narrators. While Oscar Wilde obeys the rules and stays on stage, The Ghost does not. Expect him anywhere.
Q: What’s the trickiest part of staging this production in the arena?
MUSGRAVE: The afore-mentioned technical “magic” is the main challenge to bringing the story to the arena. Blood stains that disappear and reappear — in different colors!! — have had the entire design team scratching our respective heads. I was well into rehearsal before I remembered that the most vivid “special effects” are found in our imaginations; light, sound, props, costumes, and a few (very) special effects will open vistas for every audience member.
Lucretia Otis: Kari Elizabeth Godfrey
Hiram Otis: John Goodrich
Chip Otis: Edwin “Wyn” L. Henderson
Charlie Otis: Emmett J. Henderson
The Duke of Cheshire: Grant Hooyer
Oscar Wilde / The Ghost: Mark L. Mattison
Lord Canterville: Thom Pinault
Virginia Otis: Chloe-Rose Severson
Mrs. Umney: Chrissy Sonnek
ARTISTIC & PRODUCTION STAFF
Director: Lynn Musgrave
Set Designer John A. Woskoff
Costume Designer: Rebecca Karstad
Lighting Designer: Mark Kieffer
Prop Designer: Chad Van Kekerix
Sound Designer: Lynn Musgrave
Stage Manager: Toni Solie