Aspiring playwrights attending the St. Louis, MO, revival of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts may want to check over their shoulder to see what ghosts might be sitting behind them. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is mounting a production (March 20 to April 7) of Ibsen's still-cutting 1881 drama about the catastrophic effects of unrequited passion and venereal disease on a family. Almost exactly 60 years ago, in January 1936, another famous St. Louisian, Thomas Lanier Williams -- later Tennessee Williams -- was inspired to take up playwriting as a career when he saw Alla Nazimova in Ghosts at the downtown American Theatre a few miles away from where the Rep now stands.
In the recently published biography, "Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams," author Lyle Leverich wrote: "Tennessee remembered Nazimova's playing as 'so fabulous, so terrifyingly exciting' that he was unable to stay in his seat: 'It was so moving that I had to go and walk in the lobby during the last act. I'd stand in the door and look in, then I'd rush back to the lobby again.' He said that was 'one of the things that made me want to write for the theatre'."
The new Ghosts will be performed at the Rep1s Studio Theatre in the Loretto-Hilton Center. Tickets cost $16-$23. For information, call (314) 968-4925.