Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review of Ibsen's Ghosts at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Ibsen's Ghosts. It was directed and adapted by Greg Allen but it was written first by Henrik Ibsen. It was about this mother, Mrs. Alving (Carolyn Hoerdermann), who had been keeping this secret from her child Oswald (Gage Wallace) for a really really long time and things had just gotten a little too out of hand so she had to tell him that his father had cheated on her a lot of times. The Alvings are building an orphanage with Pastor Manders (Stephen Walker) in honor of the cheating father. And Regina (Catherine Lavoie) was their maid and she seemed to be in love with Oswald. Her dad Jacob (Kirk Anderson) has a problem with his leg and he is the builder of the orphanage and he wants to build a home for lost and lonely seamen and he wants Regina to work at his new business, but she wants to stay with Oswald. This story is about loving somebody no matter who they are, lies, and misconception. There is a lot of thought about parenting issues as well, about how you can try to be so nice and perfect for your child but it still might not work. It doesn't sound like it is going to be a funny show when you go in, but it turns out to be a really funny and interesting show. I absolutely loved it and it was so fun to watch.

If you have ever been to the Mary-Arrchie space, you will know it is not super spacious. That makes it quite intimate there, and for this show that was absolutely perfect. It gets you super involved in the story and with the characters. It so fabulous; I couldn't have wished for a better space. The characters in the play even sometimes talk to you. But not in a weird fake-y way that pulled away all the tension from the story. They did it in a very real-looking way where you were involved in the story. They also didn't say really directly that they were in a play, they just made hints at it. If they had just said "we are in a play" it could have made the show less intriguing and you would have cared less about the characters. It was the perfect amount of talking to you but not taking away from the story. Regina also handed out all the programs because that is kind of like a servant-y thing to do. You kind of got to know her before the show, so you would care more about her when the show gets started and you see what her life is like and that makes you have even more sympathy.

The mom and the son seemed to love each other very much, but they did have some hard times because her son was very mad at her a lot. He was mad at her because she had lied to him but also because she was too welcoming. She welcomed him with open arms even though she had sent him away. And they had these beautiful moments together that when you got to the end of the play just got even more sad. Mrs Alving seemed to love Regina almost as much as she loved her son, which is pretty hard to get to because she loved her son with so much of her heart that she could almost never pull herself away from him. She almost instantly loved anything her son loved, like Regina, and she wants him to be able to have it, but it is almost impossible, which is one of the other things that makes the story super sad.

This show does have some very depressing and sad things about it, but there are also times when you almost die from laughter. The pastor was a very funny character. Even though he has some very bad ideas about life and women, he was still hilarious. One of my favorite moments was after he had learned about what one of the character's relationship to another one of the characters was. And he did this weird sign language right behind her back that indicated this person had been birthed by somebody and then was now working here. But he did it right behind her back which was probably not a smart thing to do. It was so funny because he was just so bad at trying to cover up the situation. And when the pastor came in and just completely swore his face off, which is not a very Christian thing to do, that made me laugh so hard. Another funny part was when Jacob was talking about the new idea for his business and it is just so dumb that it is hilarious. I mean, like, how many lost seamen are there in the world? I don't think they would get lost because their job is to navigate.

People who would like this show are people who like dramatic stories, intimate spaces, and swearing pastors. I think people should definitely go see this show. It was so funny and sad and beautiful, and I really loved it.

Photos: Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

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