Review: The haunting beauty of “Ghosts!” from Utah State leaves viewers hanging on every word

On January 28, 2022 began Utah State University’s lecture series on the portrayal of “Ghosts!” by Henrik Ibsen. led by USU Theater Arts Professor Leslie Brott.

“Ghosts!” follows the story of Helene Alving played by USU student Kaija Strong, who spent her life suspended in an emotional void after the death of her cruel but outwardly charming husband. She’s determined to escape the ghosts of her past by telling her son, Oswald – played by Utah State’s Ryan Adams – the truth about his father. But on his return from his life as a painter in France, Oswald reveals how he has already inherited the legacy of Alving’s dissolute life.

In this haunting new reading series, audiences can watch complex conversations about the meaning and importance of life and the connections one makes with those around them.

“‘Ghosts!’ continues to ask relevant questions about cultural corruption and the diseases that rot a society from within,” Brott said. “It challenges the audience to step outside of themselves and question the society around them. “

Questioning difficult topics such as drug addiction, incest and euthanasia – this beautiful Utah state adaptation has prompted many audience members to seek a better understanding of their surroundings and society.

“My family and I love coming to Caine College and seeing the fun productions they put on,” said Utah Theater Arts graduate Torin Patricks.

“My wife and I especially loved this piece, the actors did a great job of creating something that was quite haunting, really beautiful and fun to watch,” Patrick said. “The reading touched on topics that I hadn’t thought of much and it was an enjoyable experience to step out of myself and really experience the vastness of human experience.”

“I was shocked that it was a series of readings instead of a play, but I was pleasantly surprised,” said Teresa King, attorney for the state theater department. from Utah. “The play was still a lot of fun and the fact that it wasn’t performed made me really pay attention to the facial expressions of the six students’ tones. I was really impressed with their high level of skill.

Needless to say King enjoyed the read.

“Still, aside from the drama, the message behind the reading was really beautiful, while quite controversial and challenging — it made me question my sphere of self and culture,” King said.

According to Brott, the interpretation has raunchy themes.

“Frequently viewed as outrageous, Ibsen examined social and cultural issues outside the realm of polite society,” Brott said. “His topics ranged from religious hypocrisy, women’s rights, sexually transmitted diseases, domestic violence, incest, bohemianism and euthanasia.”

“I was left with a message to think about when the play ended and that’s why I enjoyed watching it so much,” said Utah State mechanical engineering graduate Kimberly Cerdist. “I would suggest anyone, student or not, to come see it.”

Although the reading series is now over, residents of Aggies and Logan are excited to see what Brott will direct next and how USU theater students will make it his own.




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