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In an effort to conceal her husband’s dissolute past, Mrs. Alving erects an orphanage in his name and invites her son, Oswald, home for the dedication. Oswald has an affair with the housekeeper, who he discovers is his illegitimate half-sister, and contracts syphilis, the same disease that killed his father. Before the dedication ceremony, the orphanage, built to give the family name an air of respectability, burns to the ground, and Oswald begins to lose his mind. As the disease begins to ravage Oswald’s sanity, he begs his mother to inject him with a poison that will end his life. 

Notable dates

Credits

Creative team

by

Henrik Ibsen

Adapted and directed by

Robert Brustein

Adapted and directed by

Robert Brustein

As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theaters, Robert Brustein has supervised well over two hundred productions, acting in eight and directing twelve.  He has written eleven adaptations for the American Repertory Theater and is the author of thirteen books on theater and society. His latest book, The Tainted Muse: Prejudices and Preconceptions in Shakespeare's Works and Times, was released earlier this year. Mr. Brustein also served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, is a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University and drama critic for The New Republic. He is a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is the recipient numerous awards including the George Polk Award in Journalism, the Commonweath (Massachusetts) Award for Organizational Leadership, and most recently the Eugene O'Neill Foundation's Tao House Award for serving the American theatre with distinction.

His Six Characters in Search of an Author won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996. His play Demons, which was broadcast on WGBH radio in 1993, had its stage world premiere as part of the A.R.T. New Stages. His play Nobody Dies on Friday was given its world premiere in the same series and was presented at the Singapore Festival of Arts and the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. His play Spring Forward, Fall Back was performed in 2006 at Theater J in Washington, D.C., and at the Vineyard Playhouse. His newest play, The English Channel, was produced in 2007 in Boston and at the Vineyard Playhouse. In the Fall of 2008, it played at the Abingdon Theatre in New York where it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Brustein also wrote Shlemiel the First, based on the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer and set to traditional klezmer music, which was directed and choreographed by David Gordon. After the original presentation in 1994 at ART and in Philadelphia at the American Music Theatre Festival, which co-produced the show, Shlemiel the First was revived several times in Cambridge and subsequently played at the Lincoln Center Serious Fun Festival, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, as well as touring theatres in Florida and in Stamford, Connecticut. The play has also been produced at Theater J in Washington, DC. Shlemiel the First comes to Peak Performances @ Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, in January 2010.  His short plays Poker Face, Chekhov on Ice, Divestiture, AnchorBimbo, Noises, Terrorist Skit, Airport Hell, Beachman’s Last Poetry Reading, and Enter William Shakespeare were all presented by the Boston Playwrights' Theatre.  Brustein is also the author of Doctor Hippocrates is Out: Please Leave a Message, an anthology of theatrical and cinematic satire on medicine and physicians, commissioned by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement for its 2008 convention in Nashville.  He was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2002.

Brustein is a former professor of English at Harvard University (now a Senior Research Fellow), Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University in Boston, the drama critic for The New Republic, and former dean of the Yale School of Drama. In 2003 he served as a Senior Fellow with the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, and in 2004 and 2005 was a senior fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts' Arts Journalism Institute in Theatre and Musical Theatre at the University of Southern California

He was the founding director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theater and served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, where he founded the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. He retired from the artistic directorship of ART in 2002 and now serves as Founding Director and Creative Consultant. He is also a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and the Open University.

During his tenure at ART, Brustein wrote eleven adaptations, including Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck, The Master Builder, and When We Dead Awaken, the last directed by Robert Wilson; Three Farces and a Funeral, adapted from the works and life of Anton Chekhov; Luigi Pirandello's Enrico IV; and Brustein's final production at ART, Lysistrata by Aristophanes, directed by Andrei Serban.  He also directed numerous adaptations while at ART including a Pirandello trilogy: Six Characters in Search of an Author, which won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996, Right You Are (If You Think You Are); Tonight We Improvise; Ibsen's Ghosts, Strindberg's The Father, and Thomas Middleton's The Changeling.

Over the course of his long career as director, playwright, and teacher, he has participated in the artistic development of such theater artists as Meryl Streep, Christopher Durang, Christopher Walken, Cherry Jones, Ted Talley, Michael Feingold, Sigourney Weaver, James Naughton, Mark Linn-Baker, Henry Winkler, James Lapine, Tony Shalhoub, Tommy Derrah, Rocco Landesman, Linda Lavin, Michael Yearga, William Ivey Long, Derek Maclane, Steve Zahn, Peter Sellars, Santo Loquasto, Tom Moore, Albert Innaurato, and many others.

Mr. Brustein is the recipient of many coveted awards, including:

  • Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Nottingham
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
  • Twice winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism
  • George Polk Award for Journalism (Criticism)
  • The 2nd Elliot Norton Award For Professional Excellence in Boston Theatre (formerly the Norton Prize), presented by the Boston Theatre District Associatione
  • New England Theatre Conference's Major Award for outstanding creative achievement in the American theatre
  • American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts
  • Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Association for Theatre in Higher Education Career Achievement Award for Professional Theatre
  • The Commonwealth Award for Organizational Leadership
  • Inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame
  • United States Institute for Theatre Technology Lifetime Achievement Award
  • National Corporate Theatre Fund Chairman's Award for Achievement in Theatre
  • Gann Academy Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts
  • Eugene O'Neill Foundation's Tao House Award for serving the American theatre with distinction

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Set design by

Tony Straiges

Set design by

Tony Straiges

Tony Straiges' set designs for Hartford Stage in addition to The Glass Menagerie include Rough Crossing, Enchanted April, Long Day's Journey Into Night, A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas, and The Great Magoo. Broadway designs include Golden Child, Rumors, Artist Descending A Staircase, I Hate Hamlet, Into The Woods, Sunday In The Park With George, John Curry's Ice Dancing, Copperfield, and TimBukTu! Recent designs include A Flea In Her Ear at the Alley Theatre and Giselle for the Royal Swedish Ballet (Stockholm).

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Costume design by

Rita Ryack

Lighting design by

James F. Ingalls

Lighting design by

James F. Ingalls

Cardenio (Lighting Design). A.R.T.: Resident lighting designer, 1981–1984: Ghosts (directed by Robert Brustein), Orlando (directed by Peter Sellars), Marsha Norman's 'Night, Mother and Traveler in the Dark, Jules Fieffer's Grownups, Sganarelle (directed by Andrei Serban), the first Hasty Pudding season (True West and Robert Auletta's Rundown), Waiting for Godot (directed by Andrei Belgrader), The Boys from Syracuse, The Marriage of Figaro, The Seven Deadly Sins (all directed by Alvin Epstein). Recent seasons: A Midsummer Night's Dream (directed by Martha Clarke), The Children of Herakles (directed by Peter Sellars), The Seagull (directed by Ron Daniels), Once in a Lifetime (directed by Anne Bogart), Major Barbara, Larry Gelbart's Mastergate. Recent: New Works Festival (ten new pieces for San Francisco Ballet), Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cellphone (Steppenwolf Theatre Company/Chicago), King Arthur (directed and choreographed by Mark Morris at New York City Opera), Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater (directed by Peter Sellars at Finnish National Opera), Coppelia (Dutch National Ballet). He often collaborates with Melanie Rios and the Saint Joseph Ballet.

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Cast

Engstrand

Jeremy Geidt

Engstrand

Jeremy Geidt

A.R.T. Senior Actor, founding member of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the A.R.T. Yale: more than 40 productions (including The Seagull). A.R.T.: 100 productions including The Seagull (three turns as Sorin), Julius Caesar, Three Sisters, The Onion Cellar, Major Barbara (Undershaft), Heartbreak House (Shotover), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Quince four times, Snug once), Henry IV (Falstaff), Twelfth Night (Toby Belch), The Caretaker (Davies), The Homecoming (Max), Loot (Truscott), Man and Superman (Mendoza/Devil), Waiting for Godot (Vladimir), The Threepenny Opera (Peacham/Petey), Ivanov (Lebedev), Three Sisters (Chebutkin), Buried Child (Dodge), The Cherry Orchard (Gaev) and The King Stag (Pantelone). Teaches at Harvard College, Harvard’s Summer and Extension Schools and at the A.R.T/MXAT Institute. Trained at the Old Vic Theatre School and subsequently taught there. Acted at the Old Vic, Young Vic, The Royal Court, in the West End, in films and television and has been hosting his own show “The Caravan” for the BBC for five years. Came to the U.S. with the satirical revue The Establishment and acted on and off Broadway, at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and at the Lincoln Center Festival. Lectured on Shakespeare in India and the Netherlands Theatre School. Received the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Boston Actor and the Jason Robards Award for Dedication to the Theatre.

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Regina Engstrand

Cherry Jones

Regina Engstrand

Cherry Jones

A.R.T.: Cherry was a founding member of the A.R.T. and has appeared multiple times on its stage, including: King Lear, Twelfth Night (with Diane Lane), Three Sisters, As You Like It, The Serpent Woman, Life is a Dream, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Major Barbara, Love’s Labors Lost, Lysistrata. Broadway and Off-Broadway: Doubt (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award), The Heiress (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award), Pride’s Crossing (Drama Desk Award), Lincoln Center Theater; Angels in America; Imaginary Friends; Moon for the Misbegotten (Tony Award nomination); The Night of the Iguana; Our Country’s Good (Tony Award nomination); Faith Healer; Mrs. Warren’s Profession; The Baltimore Waltz (OBIE Award). Television: “24” (Emmy Award for role as President Allison Taylor), “What Makes a Family,” and most recently as Dr. Judith Evans in “Awake.” Film: Ocean’s Twelve, Cradle Will Rock, The Horse Whisperer, The Perfect Storm, Erin Brockovich, Signs, The Village, Mother and Child, Swimmers, Terrence Malick’s upcoming film Knight of Cups.

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Pastor Manders

Alvin Epstein

Pastor Manders

Alvin Epstein

Alvin Epstein is a former artistic director of the Guthrie Theater and associate director of Robert Brustein's Yale Repertory Theatre. He has directed over twenty productions (five at the American Repertory Theater, including the inaugural A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1980) and performed in over one hundred (over fifty at the A.R.T.). His A.R.T. roles include Old Man in Lysistrata, the Herald in Marat/Sade, Dionisio Genoni in Enrico IV, John of Gaunt/First Gardener in Richard II, Erich Honecker in Full Circle, McLeavy in Loot, Shabelsky in Ivanov, and Lee Strasberg in Nobody Dies on Friday; Mr. Epstein has also appeared in The Doctor's Dilemma, Antigone, Three Farces and a Funeral, The Winter's Tale, Charlie in the House of Rue, The Merchant of Venice, In the Jungle of Cities, The Bacchae, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Slaughter City, Tartuffe, The Tempest, Beckett Trio, The Threepenny Opera, and Waiting for Godot, among many others. His twenty Broadway and off-Broadway productions include his debut with Marcel Marceau, the Fool in Orson Welles's King Lear, Lucky in the American premiere of Waiting for Godot, Clov in the American premiere of Endgame, Peachum in The Threepenny Opera (co-starring with Sting), and the world premiere of Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin's When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable). For twenty years he and Martha Schlamme performed A Kurt Weill Cabaret on tour in the U.S. and South America and a year's run on Broadway. He has performed at many resident theaters throughout the U.S., in films and on television. Awards include Most Promising Actor ('56 Variety Poll), Brandeis Creative Arts Award ('66), Obie for Dynamite Tonight! ('68), Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence ('96), and the IRNE Award for Best Supporting Actor as Shabelsky in Ivanov ('99). Mr. Epstein teaches acting at the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

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Mrs. Alving

Kathleen Widdoes

Mrs. Alving

Kathleen Widdoes

Oswald Alving

John Bellucci

Oswald Alving

John Bellucci