News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
21st April 2012

MRT play haunts with Ghost-Writer

posted in Art, Local Groups, Theater |

Michael Hollinger ’s play, Ghost-Writer, a haunting story of love tangled with the agonies of artistic creation, begins this weekend at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. The production, the last in a season that stands out as one of  MRT’s finest in recent memory, runs until May 13 and is well worth the price of admission.

As Picasso famously said, “Art is the lie that reveals the truth,” Hollinger explores fictional truth as the “only truth that matters” and as a way of making things more true.  The play lets you inside the writing process and as you watch, it connects two people in an intimate bond that seems to defy the boundary of death. Yet, is that truth or merely the construct of the protagonist? There are hints that support various conclusions, but in the end, Hollinger leaves it up to the viewer to decide.

The play is well written and interesting, with clever dialogue­. The three actors are also exceptional: Franklin Woolsey as the statuesque writer, who would “wait for words to appear”;  Rebecca Harris as Myra, whose facial expressions and presence convey so much more than mere words; and Maureen Garrett, the lively, jealous wife, whose outsider status and deep love for her husband provide provocative conflict as well as surprising empathy.  Although the pace can be slow at times, this subtle, cerebral and nuanced look at reality, writing and relationships proved satisfying. Don’t miss it!

There is currently one response to “MRT play haunts with Ghost-Writer”

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  1. 1 On April 22nd, 2012, Margaret said:

    I agree with Jackie that this has been a great season for MRT, although I still find the pacing off on many of their plays. In “Ghostwritten” which I thoroughly enjoyed, I felt that the dramatic moments were muffled. It was a very cerebral play, but there was drama. It just didn’t shine forth. This may be because of the mistaken use of an invisible person to whom she was speaking throughout which gave the play a slow start (as Jackie pointed out) and had a flattening effect on what action there was.

    The central issue of the play, whether she was actually channeling the words of her deceased employer (as she claimed) or whether she had actually become the writer made for some lively post-play discussion. (The MRT hosts these discussions on the first Thursday of the previews ). Jackie and I were in the minority in our opinion that she was the writer, others seemed to think she was co-creating with the dead author. The relationship between the two was carefully crafted, poignant and believable. One moment that stands out for me is when the amanuensis cries out that we are all haunted by our losses, and by our memories, that crop up unbidden with a message from the past. I echo Jackie’s advice not to miss this one.

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