LOGAN — Utah State University’s campus will be haunted by a production of the classic drama Ghosts This weekend.
USU’s Department of Theater Arts will present a staged reading of Henrik Ibsen’s once-controversial play on Friday, January 28 and Saturday, January 29.
Ghosts is led by USU Professor Leslie Brott. As well as directing the university’s actor training program, Ms. Brott is a talented actor and director as well as a member of the Actors’ Equity Association, the national union for theater professionals.
Some theatergoers tend to disparage staged readings, which are repeated readings of a script, performed in front of a seated audience. But others praise this form of entertainment as being devoid of distracting costumes, sets and lighting, leaving the audience to focus exclusively on the theatrical merits of a storyline.
In the case of Ghoststhese merits are considerable.
At its first performance at the end of the 19and Century, Ibsen’s plays (for example Ghosts, A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabbler, An Enemy of the People and others) caused critical outrage and public outcry because they frankly dealt with issues that violated the polite social norms of the late Victorian era. Even today, Ibsen’s underlying themes are still strong.
Although discussions of sexually transmitted diseases may not be as provocative today as they were 140 years ago, exploring the impact of public expectations on individuals and families is no doubt still relevant, especially in our age of ubiquitous social media.
The protagonist of Ghosts is Helene, a widow who had allowed herself to be worried by public perceptions forcing her to endure marriage to a cruel but outwardly charming husband. She is determined to escape the ghosts of her past by telling her son, Oswald, the truth about his father. Instead, Helene is shocked to discover that Oswald has already inherited the legacy of his father’s dissolute life.
The USU Department of Theater Arts warns that Ghosts contains adult language and themes, including discussions of suicide and incest.
Staged readings of Ghosts are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the intimate Black Box Theater at the Chase Fine Arts Center on the USU campus, where seating will be limited.