Halloween is in the air and with it brings opportunities to go to the theater and get a bit scared. Now a bit scared can mean there is loads of suspense and unexpected things that happen that will startle and rattle you and keep you on edge. If this sounds like what you have in mind, then consider seeing “Ghost Light: The Haunting.” This new show is playing for a limited time Off-Broadway at the TBG Theatre. There will be a special Opening Night performance on Halloween evening at Midnight. Prepare to be scared just enough to make it an experience that fits right in with the season and beyond.
“Ghost Light: The Haunting” was written by award winning playwright, Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei and produced and directed by Emmy Award Winning Penny Bergman. It is based on “Yotsuya Ghost Tales,” the Kabuki play inspired by the legend of the horribly betrayed woman named Oliwa. The play opens with the lead female character, Keiko, telling the tale of Oliwa. Played by Elaina Erika Davis, this one woman monologue is powerful as the character transforms her face into such contortions that you don’t know which one of the women you are looking at. We find out that Keiko also called Kay, is a descendent of the original Oliwa and thus she mourns the woman’s fate.
After this fascinating opening, the small two piece orchestra plays Japanese instruments at various points in the show to reinforce the importance of the Japanese culture on the action that is taking place. As the story begins to unfold, we see Kay give birth to a baby girl and winning a Primetime Emmy on the same day. Her husband, Bryan, played by Greg Brostrom, is also her co-star. He is also nominated for an Emmy but loses out to his arch rival. We learn that Kay and Bryan are riding high as America’s favorite couple with an unbreakable contract binding them together — love, devotion, partners at home and at work. But a clue starts to enter that something is about to happen when Bryan “surprises” Kay with the home he bought for them: an apartment in the Dakota in NYC. However, Kay accepts it happily and very little is made of the fact that these partners had no discussion about it.
When both are offered the leads in a newly revised version of “Macbeth” on Broadway, Bryan’s thrill at playing the role of a lifetime is dashed by Kay’s disgust at the director’s concept for Lady Macbeth: a stereotypical, derogatory depiction of Asian women. She rejects the job and wants Bryan to stand in solidarity and give up his plum part as well. Bryan has other thoughts in mind and thus the conflict begins.
The story continues as Kay goes to Japan where she dies but manages to make sure her baby survives. And so the haunting of Bryan begins. And that’s where the fun of the scary parts come in. In addition to the haunting of Bryan, the manager who is more than just a business manager, Jonathan Hecht, feels a fate as well. Patrick Goss plays Hecht and he also plays the female playwright/creator/director, Helen, of the “Macbeth” production. His dressing in drag for this role provides some comic relief at times until one sees what a scamp she really is. The play also has Darlene Tejeiro as Lynn who is friends with Kay. The chorus is well used to scare the audience by appearing throughout the theater at unexpected times. Chorus members include Mike Basile, Karen Lee, Lynn Guerra, Mami Kimura, Tyler Pino
If you are looking to get spooked-out theater style, then this is for you. But you need to move fast since this show will only run through Nov. 8, 2015 with that special Opening Night this Halloween at midnight. “Ghost Light: The Haunting” plays at the TBG Theatre, 312 West 36th St. in Manhattan on Wednesdays through Sundays. Tickets are $18 and are available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com.