For its final mainstage performance of the season, Slippery Rock University Department of Theatre will present Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts”, a tale of dark family secrets and the actions taken to keep those secrets.
Senior Cole Vecchio described “Ghosts” as a play with multiple interlacing themes such as the relationships shared between parent and child, the ability to do the right thing and being able to go against social norms. Junior Phoebe Costanza agreed and added that it’s a play of realization.
Costanza plays widow Helene Alving, a woman who is ahead of her time, cares deeply about those around her, and who always tries to make the right choices, even if those choices aren’t the “right” ones.
Costanza said she is privileged and honored to be portraying this character, and she’s enjoyed working with the director and guest artist Lisa Ann Goldsmith; she also enjoyed learning to work with the text, which is older and more cryptic than modern writing.
“So much of this play is what’s not said, what we’re not saying as opposed to what we are,” Costanza said. “It’s been a really good learning experience.”
Freshman Kiersten Hope plays Alving’s maid Regina Engstrand, a role very far from what Hope usually portrays. Hope said she is usually cast in either gentle, maternal roles or strict roles, and Regina is neither of those.
“One word I would use to describe Regina is ‘ambitious,’” Hope said. “It’s definitely hard to get into her mindset every night.”
Hope said she has enjoyed getting the chance to perform in a classical theatre piece, a genre she really appreciates, as well as working with a “top-notch cast.” She said that the older actors, like Vecchio, have taught her a lot.
Vecchio plays Pastor Manders, a man he described as having a great sense of control and a certain level of self-righteousness, and Vecchio said that sense of control is hiding a very miserable person who’s in a lot of pain.
“I hope the audience is able to resonate with these problems,” Vecchio said. “These are still real human beings; they’re just as flawed and susceptible to pain and joy as anyone else.”
Vecchio said his biggest challenge with this role was having to go to places within himself to feel what the character feels, as Pastor Manders hides a very deep, dark self within. However, he said it was a good learning experience, among other aspects of this process, such as working with the director.
“I’ve had a great time, and it’s a great note to go off on,” Vecchio said.
Ghosts will be Vecchio’s final performance with SRU before he graduates at the end of the semester. Costanza and freshman Kiersten Hope both praised Vecchio, as well as the other older actors, as being good role models and people to look up to.
“Cole is one of those actors you’re really blessed to be working with,” senior Tyler Hahn said of Vecchio.
Sound designer and senior Ellie Petro agreed with Vecchio, saying that she’s happy to go out with Ghosts as her final SRU mainstage production. She said it’s been a learning process, working with soundscapes and so many new faces, but that it’s been fun. Ghosts is one of her favorite plays because it’s a good representation of life, and that it’s timeless.
“Ghosts” will run from Friday, April 28 through Thursday, May 4 in the University Union MPR, and will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on April 28 and 29 and May 1-4, and 2 p.m. on April 30.