A group of train passengers are stranded in a train station in the middle of nowhere, having missed their connection, with the next train not coming through until morning. There's the newly married couple on their way to their honeymoon (Vincent Hannam and Nissa Nordland Morgan), the slightly longer married couple in the middle of a spat (Michael Kelley and Andrea Rose Tonsfeldt), a woman with her parrot (Jane Zilch), and a mysterious and well dressed man (Tim McVean). The station master (Edwin Strout) tries to get them to leave so he can lock up, but there's nowhere to go. Even his story of the horrible train crash and multiple deaths 20 years ago, which has left the station haunted, doesn't convince them to leave. They're soon joined by a woman (Samantha V. Papke) strangely obsessed with the crash and the supposed "ghost train" that comes through at midnight, and the two men (Leif Jurgensen and William P. Studer) who are trying to convince her to let it go. All sorts of mysterious events and shenanigans continue until the story takes a turn, and the people we think we know aren't really who we thought they were. It all adds up to a fun, brisk, mysterious, often hilarious ride on the Ghost Train.
|the cast of Ghost Train (photo by Lauren B. Photography)
The 12-person cast is really great (although sadly non-diverse) under the clear direction of Sarah Nargang, who sets the perfect tone of melodrama and comedic terror which the cast fully commits to. You might not have heard any of these actors' names before, you might not have seen them on the big stages in town, but they're all so present, so in-the-moment, so committed to the storytelling that they're a joy to watch, and are obviously having a ton of fun themselves. These are the kind of artists, Wayward and Mission are the kind of companies, and Ghost Train is the kind of theater that makes the Twin Cities' theater community so deep, rich, and great. It's a wonderful example of the fact that you can find great theater not just on the big stages in the huge houses, but also on a tiny, chilly, makeshift stage in a train museum.
This Ghost Train will leave the station for the last time on April 15. If you're a fan of fun, imaginative, well executed, site-specific theater, don't miss it! Tickets start at $15 and include a number of add-on activities such as dinner and a vintage bus tour.
|Scenes from the Minnesota Transportation Museum