Seattle Rep is producing Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, in a new translation by Paul Walsh. Directed by Carey Perloff (Seattle Rep: A Thousand Splendid Suns), the cast includes Academy Award-nominated actor David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck; A League of Their Own; Nomadland) as Pastor Manders, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface) as Mrs. Helena Alving, Thom Sesma (Broadway: The Lion King) as Carpenter Jakob Engstrand, Albert Rubio as Oswald Alving, Nikita Tewani as Regina Engstrand. Amy Thone, Adam Fontana, Bradford Farwell and Sofia Raquel Sanchez will serve as understudies. Ghosts will be performed on the Bagley Wright stage from April 1-May 1, 2022; single tickets and digital access may be purchased online, or by calling the Patron Services Office at 206.443.2224.
Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts is perhaps his most vivid and controversial play. The story follows a mother caught between duty and desire and begs the question: how far should she go to protect her family? In Ibsen fashion, the play itself is a contemplative commentary on 19th-century morality that has been translated for the American contemporary theater. Of the play and its title’s meaning, translator Paul Walsh said, “It means, that which goes again; that which returns. The ghosts of our past, all those things that we thought we had done away with-racism, sexism, homophobia-they all are returning now, and it’s so relevant. That’s how ghosts operate within this play and within our lives” (excerpt from a Williamstown Theatre Festival 2019 interview).
This new translation and subsequent production of Ghosts premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2019. Seattle Rep audiences may remember a 2021 virtual development experience via the Plays in Process series, which offered a glimpse into the creative process of adapting and refining this vibrant story. Of the new translation, Seattle Rep Artistic Director Braden Abraham said, “Paul Walsh is one of the foremost American translators of Henrik Ibsen’s plays. Paul’s exciting new translation of Ghosts faithfully delivers the play with the spontaneity of contemporary language. A great classic is always revealing itself and translation is a vital process to reinvigorate these works with fresh energy and relevancy.”
Ghosts will feature original and live musical underscoring by David Coulter, scenic design by Dane Laffrey, costume design by David Reynoso, lighting design by Robert Wierzel, sound design by Victoria Deiorio, and stage management by Stina Lotti.
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ABOUT Carey Perloff (Director)
Carey Perloff is a director, playwright, producer, and educator who recently completed a 25-year tenure as the Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where she staged dozens of classical and contemporary plays and nurtured a three-decade collaboration with Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard resulting in her new book Pinter and Stoppard: A Director’s Views. Recent directing work includes: Ghosts (translator Paul Walsh) at Williamstown Theatre Festival (WTF); Pale Fire by Colm Toibin at The Gate Theatre, Dublin; Merchant of Venice starring Seana McKenna at the Shakespeare Company, Calgary; and A Thousand Splendid Suns at Arena Stage, Washington D.C. Perloff has staged numerous plays at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and at theaters across Canada.
As a playwright, Perloff’s work includes If God were Blue, Edgardo or White Fire (WTF commission), Higher (Winner, 2011 Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Theater Visions Award), Luminescence Dating (Sloane Foundation Commission, Bay Area Theater Critics Best Original Script), Kinship (premiered in Paris starring Isabelle Adjani and then at WTF starring Cynthia Nixon), and The Fit (San Francisco Playhouse). Perloff is the author of Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (City Lights Press 2015). In 2007, Perloff was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and has been awarded honorary degrees from University of San Francisco and A.C.T. She is working on a Director Commission for Seattle Rep: the Oedipus Cycle, with John Douglas Thompson.
ABOUT Paul Walsh (Translator)
Paul Walsh is professor in the practice of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. Other Ibsen translations include A Doll’s House, The Master Builder, Hedda Gabler, John Gabriel Borkman, and An Enemy of the People. Walsh has worked as dramaturg, translator, and co-author with theater companies across the country, including nine years as a dramaturg at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. With Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis, he collaborated on such award-winning productions as Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream, Don Juan Giovanni, Germinal, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He received a Ph.D. from the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama at the University of Toronto.