THE GHOST SONATA Gets Bold New Revival at Fort Point Theater Channel
The Ghost Sonata, the imaginative, quirky classic by theatre genius August Strindberg, is staged in a bold new revival as part of Fort Point Theater Channel's (FPTC)'s tenth anniversary season.
Marc S. Miller, FPTC co-founder announced, "As a collaborative, multidisciplinary group of artists, we are pleased to present a play that challenged theatre conventions when it was written and continues to defy audience expectations today. We are also delighted to introduce Christine Noah, an exciting young director and FPTC co-artistic director, in her first full production for Boston audiences."
In the play, a young student, fresh from an heroic act, encounters an old man in a wheelchair who offers to be his benefactor. He is introduced to a beautiful young lady and gains entree into her rarified world. Appearances are deceiving, however; behind the facade of the elegant house lurk shocking secrets.
Noah's new interpretation of the play incorporates the role of social media in contemporary life. "Strindberg's characters in The Ghost Sonata thrive on deceit and hide behind false fronts. I wanted to explore how the characters, and people in general today, create an identity online that may not correspond to what is happening in real life," explains Noah.
The production features Sally Nutt as the Mummy; she is an FPTC co-artistic director who first worked with the group in Carny Knowledge in 2010. Altogether 8 FPTC co-artistic directors are part of the team for this play, contributing to the set design, as well as dramaturgy, photography and producing. Other cast members include Kevin C. Groppe as the Old Man, Paxton Crystal as the Student, Madeline Sosnowski as the Young Lady, Dylan Goodman as Bengtsson, Joseph Juknievich as Johansson, Chuck Schwager as the Colonel, and Krystal Hernandez as the Cook.
The Ghost Sonata, written in 1907 toward the end of Strindberg's life, was one of his most experimental works and part of a suite of chamber plays created for his own Intimate Theatre in Stockholm. The ideas and techniques were so innovative that theatre artists struggled to find the right expression for them in the play's premiere production, which flopped. The play later gained traction in a 1916 production by Max Reinhardt in Berlin. Reinhardt's expressionist staging of this and other Strindberg plays made the Swede a household name in Germany and helped build momentum for his international fame.
The Ghost Sonata premiered in the U.S. in 1924 at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village, New York, under the leadership of Eugene O'Neill, who wrote in his program notes that "Strindberg was the precursor of all modernity in our present theatre. . . . Strindberg still remains among the most modern of the moderns, the greatest interpreter in the theatre of the characteristic spiritual conflicts which constitute the drama-the blood!-of our lives today."
Performances run October 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14 at 8 pm; with a 3 pm matinee on October 8. Tickets: $20, $14 for students, seniors, StageSource members. Cambridge YMCA Theatre, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. T: Red Line to Central Square. Wheelchair accessible. For advance tickets, call 800.838.3006 or visit www.fortpointtheatrechannel.org/tickets-shows.
August Strindberg (1849-1912), variously described as Sweden's Shakespeare and the father of modern drama, was a prolific artist who wrote more than 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, poetry, autobiography, history, and cultural and political essays. He was also a painter and an alchemist. Outside Sweden he is best known for his plays The Father, Miss Julie, The Dance of Death and A Dream Play and for his bold and evolving approach to theatre. He operated outside the theatrical establishment almost his entire career. Instead he was aligned with the independent theatre movement, which consisted of numerous experimental theatre companies that sprang up throughout Europe in the late nineteenth century (the first and most influential of these was the 1887 Theatre-Libre in Paris). Strindberg challenged established staging practices with each new play and lived a turbulent, passionate life that fed his creative output. O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee and Ingmar Bergman are among the many artists who cite Strindberg as an inspiration and influence.
Fort Point Theatre Channel (FPTC) grows out of Fort Point's unique, artist-grounded community. In 2007, the first Exclamation Point! marked its start with an evening of new writing by neighborhood artists and friends. Since then, every project has been distinctive, built upon the diverse mix of arts represented by a core group of artistic directors, now numbering about 20. FPTC's home base is in the Fort Point section of the South Boston waterfront; the group produces and presents its work throughout Boston and other locations.
FPTC is dedicated to creating and sustaining new configurations of the performing arts. It brings together an ensemble of artists from the worlds of theater, music, visual arts, and everything in between, as a forum for collaborative expression, while also contributing artistically to their communities.
FPTC, resident at Midway Studios, comprises a core group of artistic directors: Mitchel King Ahern, Mario Avila, Olivia Brownlee, Rick Dorff, Mary Driscoll, Danny Gessner, Kathryn Howell, Naomi Ibasitas, Heather Kapplow, Ian W. King, Greg Kowalski, Anne Loyer, Roberto Mighty, Marc S. Miller, Christine Noah, Sally Nutt, Hana Pegrimkova, Susan Paino, Nick Thorkelson, Douglas Urbank, Daniel J. van Ackere, Yuxi Wang, and Mark Warhol.
For more information, visit www.fortpointtheatrechannel.org.
Pictured: Paxton Crystal as the Student in August Strindberg's The Ghost Sonata. Photo by Roberto Mighty.