Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen - Yale Dramatic Association, 2009 - Photos by Eric Anderson    
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by Henrik Ibsen
Translated by Rolf Fjeld
Directed by Gary Jaffe

FEBRUARY 19 - 21st, 2009
at the Iseman Theater
presented by the Yale Dramatic Association

In Ibsen’s Ghosts, a sudden eruption of dark secrets and deadly legacies tears Helene Alving and her son apart, despite years of effort on Helene’s part to put the past to rest. To realize this confrontation of past and present, I directed my design team to layer a “real” present over the abstract depiction a nightmarish past. The Alving’s tranquil garden room teetered on a turbulent landscape; the light and sound transformed from a subtle “realism” into a brutal expressionism of jagged angles and dissonance. I saw the potential in an older play to have a gut-wrenching effect on a Yale audience, and used the design tools of the modern theater to make it reality.

Featuring: Erin Capistrano, Andrew Maillet (both featured left), Will Turner, Jennifer Cohen, and Lucas O'Connor

Scenic Design by Peregrine Heard; Lighting Design by Lauren Bremen; Costume Design by Elizabeth Palazzolo; Sound Design by Taylour Chang

View the GHOSTS gallery.
Photos by Eric Anderson


Directorial Pitch
(from my proposal to the Yale Dramatic Association in winter of 2008)

Broadly, Ghosts is about those fears and, at times, nightmares which hang directly outside our line of vision, those intangible inevitabilities which we struggle so hard to control, but sometimes invariably must come to pass.  These “ghosts” are the kinds of dilemmas and fears that offer no easy solution, the mere contemplation of which brings tears or incredible anxiety.  They take many forms – a piece of the past which we seem doomed to repeat, an intense desire for something or someone which will never be fulfilled, the voice of traditional social mores setting back the course of social progress immeasurably, an intensely personal project (and years' worth of work) falling apart in a single night, a disease bound to strike, terror at the prospect of an independent future in an uncertain world. 

The problem with these “ghosts” is that they are intangible – they are beyond the physical, and because of that, because we cannot get our hands on them, we cannot fix them, and so they become all the more terrifying.  To that end, I would like to create two worlds in my production of Ghosts, the world of the concrete and tangible, and that of these nightmarish intangibilities.  Ostensibly, in my production the tangible world will teeter precariously on top of the intangible one.  All the trappings of a 19th century parlor will sit on stage, but will be enveloped by the intangible – the floor and a large panel painted with in an expressionistic, ghost-ly style, sound and light bombarding the stage as Helene Alving’s nightmare grows more and more vivid.  I view the theater as a space in which the intangible becomes tangible, where we render visible the invisible and create reality out of unreality.  I will make the ghosts of Ghosts as vivid onstage as they are in Helene’s mind and heart.

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