With dueling Hedda Gablers (no pun intended) in New York and across the country, Arizona Theatre Company knew classic Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen was getting hot again. But instead of choosing one of his women-oriented problem plays, the company based in both Phoenix and Tucson commissioned Pulitzer Prize winner Lanford Wilson to translate Ibsen's lesser-known Ghosts with Wilson's longtime collaborator Marshall Mason directing.
Ghosts plays the Tucson Temple of Music and Art Oct. 13-Nov. 3, officially opening there Oct. 19, with a second run at Phoenix's Herberger Theatre Center Nov. 8-25.
In Ghosts, the sins of the father literally come back to haunt Oswald Alving. The young man thinks he comes from a respectable father, but the truth that dad was a drunken philanderer comes out even as a loving mother tries to hide the facts from her son just as she hid them from the community. The 120-year-old play has been given a fresh translation by the author of Balm in Gilead, Talley's Folly, Fifth of July, Redwood Curtain and Burn This.
Mason directed 28 plays by Wilson, including the Tony winners and the Pultizer Prize-winning Talley's Folly. He is currently a Professor or Theatre at Arizona State University and in 1999 won a Mr. Abbot Award for innovative and influential directing.
Jason Kuykendall (ATC's Wit) is Oswald with Ruth Reid (ATC's Long Days Journey Into Night) as Mrs. Alving. Also in the cast are Daren Kelly (Broadway's Woman of the Year, Footloose national tour) as Pastor Manders, Kelly McAndrew as Regina Engstrand and Bob Sorenson as Jacob Engstrand. Designing Ghosts are David Potts (sets), Dennis Parichy (lighting), Laura Crow (costumes) and Brian Jerome Peterson (sound). Peter Kater composes the original score.
Tickets are $24-$36. For reservations call (520) 622-2823. Arizona Theatre Company is on the web at ttp://www.arizonatheatre.org.
— By Christine Ehren