Ghost Sonata is one of Strindberg's chamber plays, a play with three acts that flows like a piece of music (especially when accompanied by original music played by a three-piece onstage orchestra). In the first act we meet an idealistic young student (Andrew Sass) who has just saved a bunch of people from a collapsed building. A wily old man (Charles Numrich) uses him in his plan to get inside a grand house. The old man seems to know and be connected to many of the residents in mysterious ways, especially the Colonel (David Tufford) and his crazy wife (Karen Bix). The student is fascinated by these rich people in this fine house, so he agrees to the plan. In the second act, the old man and the student have managed to get inside the house, and the old man confronts the residents and the servants over dinner as we learn of his twisted plan. In the third and final act, the student talks with the young lady of the house (Megan Dowd) and learns about the strange happenings. Her parents are crazy, she's terrified of the servants, and despairing of life in general. The student soon realizes that what's inside this house is not as beautiful and fine as it appears on the outside.
|the ghostly girl scout aids the student as the old man looks on
(Nissa Nordland, Andrew Sass, Charles Numrich,
photo by Mathieu Lindquist)
I apologize if I'm not making sense, but this is a difficult one to make sense of. I mean that in the best possible way, it's really quite fascinating and fun to watch. Themes of class tension, redemption, relationships, revenge, and being haunted by one's past all come into play in this strange Strindberg world. It was obvious listening to the creators talk about their work in the post-show discussion that a lot of time, thought, and effort went into creating this piece, including a new modern-day translation by Danielle Blackbird, original music by Charlie McCarron, and abstract video projections by Josh Cragun. All of these pieces come together quite beautifully in a bizarre and surreal sort of way. There's really no way to adequately describe it, you just have to see it for yourself. Ghost Sonata continues at nimbus theater through November 23.
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.