Sunday, March 25, 2007

Holy Ghosts

I saw the Spooky Action Theater's production of Romulus Linney's Holy Ghosts today. Fifteen actors all onstage at the same time can be a stage action disaster or a visual feast. This one's a feast. I really liked it.

Set in a makeshift church in Appalachia, the play explores the interactions of Pentecostal church members among themselves and a non-believer who has come to reclaim his wife. One by one, we come to know each character as they "speak their truth." Each has taken that fateful step over the cliff in the blind faith that s/he won't be killed by the fall and in fact will (à la Amazing Grace) finally be found. Linney was born and raised in Appalachian Tennessee and seems to know his characters well. He presents them sympathetically and without stereotype. Don't want to give away too much of the plot; it takes a few twists and turns before what was, for me, a satisfying resolution.

I particularly like the way the guitarist reflected (or maybe directed!) the energy of the stage action, bringing together an otherwise difficult set of transitions. There was definitely a tension, though, as his generally upbeat playing clashed with the emotional pain of the action. Haven't quite figured that out. It did make a positive contribution to the play's effectiveness, but I can't articulate it.

There are four more performances. Details at The show runs about 1:45 without intermission. Venue is the Black Box at Montgomery College's Takoma Park Campus. It's a small black box and provides the intimacy this play needs. Open seating - you watch the play and then contribute what you think it's worth. Now is that honesty in theater or what?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the positive review!