Michael Hollinger's world-premiere play Ghost-Writer has been billed as a spine tingler, but nothing could be further from the truth. What this psychological and, at times, lyrical drama accomplishes is far more interesting than raising goose bumps.
Brilliant stenographer Myra Babbage (Paige Lindsey White) knows how to anticipate her employer's every em dash and full stop. But when that employer, novelist Franklin Woolsey (Leland Crooke), dies unexpectedly, leaving behind an unfinished manuscript, the diligent amanuensis types on, claiming to be receiving dictation from beyond the grave.
Whether these kindred spirits might actually share an otherworldly connection, or whether Myra is voicing her own frustrated romantic and creative ambitions, are questions the production explores with humor and dignity. Early versions of the script cast Ghost-Writer as a one-woman play. Under caryn desai's canny direction, the central character retains every inch of her full complexity. White imbues Myra with so much vivacious intelligence, every keystroke reverberates with wit and longing.
Hollinger based the story on true incidents following the death of Henry James, wisely trading the likely homosexual 19th-century writer for a fictional counterpart. Crooke brings diffident warmth to the unhappily married Woolsey. Cheryl David completes the triangle as the jealous wife.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Aug. 24. Continues through Sept. 16, 2012
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