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!