A SUPPLEMENTARY STUDY GUIDE Compiled by Natalia Razak, Hillary Rea, Tara Demmy, and Harry Watermeirer Water
TABLE OF CONTENTS Section One: About the Play
Play Synopsis.........................................................................3 About the Playwright....................................................5 Production History..........................................................5
Second Two: History and Context
Timeline of Publishing........................................................6 Henry James, Theodora Bosanquet and Feminism at The Turn of the Century..............8 History of the Foxtrot................................................10
Section Three: Our Production
Design & Production.......................................................11 Costume Sketches.............................................................12 Whoâ€™s Who in the Cast..................................................13 Interview with Michael Hollinger.............................14 Discussion Questions........................................................16
Section One: About the Play
Ghost ~ Writer By Michael Hollinger
Directed by James J. Christy on the Arcadia Stage September 9th - November 7th, 2010
Myra Babbage - late 30s to early 40s Franklin Woolsey - late 50s to early 60s Vivian Woolsey - same age as Woolsey, or slightly younger
SETTING An austerely furnished room in New York City; November, 1919 .
PLAY SYNOPSIS PLAY SYNOPSIS The play opens on Myra, sitting expectant in front of a sleek black typewriter, and Woolsey, standing behind her and staring out the window. Myra launches into an explanatory monologue directed towards an invisible visitor, outlining the patience and diligence required in taking dictation. She talks at length in a speech replete with pauses. Occasionally, she stops to brieﬂy type, explaining: “that wasnʼt writing; only typing.” Eventually, Woolsey speaks. He upbraids her for ﬁdgeting, and they engage in a short conversation. It eventually becomes clear that this conversation is a memory, as Myra shifts out of it and back into her conversation with the unseen visitor. The visitor, it turns out, is an observer hired by Mrs. Woolsey to look in on Myra, and the work she and Mr. Woolsey are doing. Myra comments on the weather, and then the phone begins to ring. She does not answer it, explaining to the interviewer that it will eventually stop, but it rings and rings to the point of awkwardness. When it does cease, Myra begins to ask, and answer, the “typical questions” she has apparently fended off many times before, so (as she says) to save the unseen observer the time and effort. As she does so, it becomes clear that there is something somewhat off with this situation – Woolsey is, in fact, not in the room, the memories he acts out with Myra are simply memories, and Myra is taking dictation from a non-corporeal force. Myra begins to share more memories and, interspersed with her monologues, the scenes are acted out between her, Woolsey, and Mrs. Woolsey: how she came to work for Mr. Woolsey on a recommendation from her professor Mr. Aldredge (who she believes to have been sweet on her and thus have ulterior motives for telling Woolsey what a promising student she was). Woolsey tests her dictation skills and is satisﬁed, but since Myra is a young girl, he worries she will get married and quit, as his last secretary did. She tells him she has no current prospects, but this is a lie: she does admit to attending a social dancing class on Thursday evenings, requesting that their work not conﬂict with this engagement, but assures Woolsey she attends with her cousin, when in fact she goes with her sweetheart, Geoffrey. As she leaves, he asks to her to throw away the paper with her audition dictation on it. She seems uncomfortable with doing so, so Woolsey takes the paper, rips it neatly into four pieces, and drops it in the trash. Myra then shares the memory of ﬁrst meeting Mrs. Woolsey, who inspects the writing premises as she does the new secretary. Mrs. Woolsey confesses to also being a writer, but of poetry, and (it is suggested) of less talent than her husband. She seems unhappy in the marriage, and skeptical of Myra and the amount of time she and Woolsey will spend together. The memories shift back to Myra and Woolsey working together, and this one shows a shift in their relationship. In his dictation, Woolsey chooses a semi-colon to go at the end of a phrase Myra believes should have a full stop. She refuses to continue typing until Woolsey amends his choice, which annoys him. Yet, he not only ends up changing it, but agreeing that it is the right choice. Thus begins a more collaborative atmosphere between the two. When she leaves to go to her dance class, there is an air of unhappiness in Woolsey.
PLAY SYNOPSIS SYNOPSIS PLAY In another memory, Myra reads back the second chapter of the book they are working on, and Woolsey ends up striking the ﬁrst three paragraphs. Mrs. Woolsey barges in and announces they must stop working – she and Woolsey have a social engagement. She then badgers Woolsey to put a phone in his workspace, an argument they have clearly had before. As Woolsey leaves to get ready, Mrs. Woolsey tells Myra that she was the inspiration for the love interest in his ﬁrst novel. She then reveals she wants to learn how to type, and she wants Myra to teach her. Myra proves to be an exacting and strict teacher, and Mrs. Woolsey gives up before they reach Lesson Two. After more comments on the weather to the unseen observer, Myra shares a memory of Woolsey struggling to ﬁnish another novel while echoes of poor reviews of his prior work plague his mind. He instructs Myra to type – type anything, just so he can hear the sound of the typewriter – and not to tell him the phrase she chooses. The brief typing jolts him back into good spirits, and from then on Myra will type the phrase whenever he appears to be stuck. The phone rings (apparently he has acquiesced to his wifeʼs request to put one in the workroom) and Woolsey refuses to answer it. He then realizes he has kept Myra past her dance class, and apologizes, but she does not seem to mind. They have tea, and their relationship has obviously shifted again. At her next dance class, Geoffrey proposes marriage, and Myra declines. As the memories move on to the dictation of Woolseyʼs ﬁnal book, a story about an older sculptor and his model of many years, Woolsey seems to randomly interject that he never learned how to dance due to his religious upbringing, Then she shares the story of July 13th, the day Woolsey died., with the unseen observer. He collapsed during dictation. For the next six weeks, Myra mourned intensely, until one day she went into their workspace and began typing their phrase. Eventually, words started to ﬂow, his words, and by the end of the night she has contributed many pages to the unﬁnished manuscript. She shares the story of Mrs. Woolsey visiting the workroom while Myra continues to take Woolseyʼs posthumous dictation, asking all the questions Myra answered herself at the beginning of the play, and threatening to burn the manuscript if she can prove it is a forgery. But even she, though skeptical, admits that the writing is just like her late husbandʼs and demands to know how she does it. Hauntingly, she reminds Myra that if there is nobody giving her dictation, then it is just she alone, writing in an empty room. Lastly, Myra backtracks to tell the unseen observer of teaching Woolsey to dance so he can write about dancing in his last novel, and how he tells her he loves her and not Mrs. Woolsey but he cannot leave her, and how he kisses her again and again. As she ﬁnishes the story, she gets angry with the unseen observer, launching into a tirade about how she is not crazy, or wasting her life. She falls silent, and begins to type, hesitantly at ﬁrst, then with fervor. When she stops, she types a deliberate period, and then tells the unseen observer that he should leave quickly to beat the rain. She stands by the window and as it begins to pour, she sobs as the lights fade to black.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT Michael Hollinger
Michael Hollinger has been “hailed as one of Americaʼs brightest new comic voices, celebrated for his razor-sharp wit and clever wordplay, Philadelphia-based Michael Hollinger is rapidly becoming one of the most successful and widely produced playwrights in this country and beyond. His plays have been produced in New York, in regional theatres around the country and throughout Europe” (University of Iowa Press News Release, 1997). Hollinger was born on January 13th, 1962 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is an assistant professor of theatre at Villanova University, and a resident playwright for New Dramatists. He received a Bachelor of Arts in viola performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Arts in theatre from Villanova University. His former plays include A Wonderful Noise, Opus, Tooth and Claw and Red Herring. He has also written plays for young audiences, such as Eureka! and Hot Air, and the screenplays Incorruptible and Pipe. His awards include the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Citation for Opus, the Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play for Opus in 2006 and Red Herring in 2000, the Frederick Lowe Award for Musical Theatre for A Wonderful Noise, the Roger L. Stevens Award for the Fund for New American Plays, and fellowships from the Independence Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Hollingerʼs musical background has inﬂuenced his take on writing, giving him experience in the subject and respect for its process. The New York Times said about Opus: “[it] considers the matter of music making with an intimate, appraising eye, showing us the sweat, the drudgery and the delicate balance of personalities that lie behind the creation of a seemingly effortless performance.” (Isherwood 2007). Hollinger has said, “Plays are music to me; characters are instruments, scenes are movements; tempo, rhythm and dynamics are critical; and melody and counterpoint are always set in relief by rests—beats, pauses, the spaces in between” (Baker 2007).
Production History The ﬁrst staged reading of Ghost~Writer was held by PlayPenn at the Adrienne Theatre on Thursday, July 23, 2009, directed by Harriet Power, Dramaturg was Larry Loebel, with the cast of Megan Bellwoar as Myra Babbage, Nancy Boykin as Mrs. Woolsey, Dan Kern as Mr. Woolsey. Ghost~Writer marks the seventh world premiere for Hollinger at the Arden and the play is scheduled for production at The Bloomburg Theatre Ensemble and Florida Stage in 2011. 5.
SECTION TWO: HISTORY AND CONTEXT Timeline of Publishing Compiled by Hillary Rea 131 BCE: Acta Diurna - the First Daily Gazette was carved on stone or metal and posted in public places. 84-86 CE: The ﬁrst mention of writings published on parchment – the poet Martial writes about ﬁnding Homerʼs words written on small pieces of leather. 713-734: One of the ﬁrst newspapers is written on silk – The Bulletin of the Court is published in China. 1420-1470: A scribe mass produces illuminated manuscripts called “History Bibles”. 1450: The ﬁrst printed newsletters are circulated around Europe.
1480: A typical print run is between 100 and 700 copies.
1605: First European newspaper, Relation, is published in Strasburg.
70 BCE: The book trade in Ciceroʼs Rome – booksellers and copyists carried on an active trade. Cicero complained of the publicationsʼ poor quality. 600-700: Most published writing was contained within monasteries. All of these were ecclesiastical manuscripts. 972-983: 5048 volumes of 130,000 pages are printed in China -- The Buddhist Tripitaka is printed using 130,000 wood blocks. 1440: Johannes Gutenburg invents the printing press. Moveable type is introduced into publishing. 1465-1470: 5 years of ﬁrsts – The ﬁrst book is printed in Italy, the ﬁrst book is printed in Roman type, the ﬁrst edition of a classical text, the ﬁrst edition of the bible in a modern language, the ﬁrst printed encyclopedia, the ﬁrst printed edition of Virgil. 1500: Printing presses are established in 282 cities in over 20 countries. 1609: First publication of Shakespeareʼs sonnets is printed in London
1690: First newspaper is printed in North America 1821: First cloth edition bindings are produced in London 1851: The New York Times begins publication
1741: First magazine is published in North America. Ben Franklin was the ﬁrst person to come up with the idea to publish a magazine in the Colonies. 1829: The Braille system of printing and reading for the blind is created.
Timeline of Publishing (Continued)
1910: 8468 new books are published in the United Kingdom. The mechanical typewriter reaches a somewhat standardized design. 1964: The ﬁrst computerized encyclopedia is created.
1867: First commercially successful typewriter is produced. 1950: 11,638 new books are published in the United Kingdom 1969: 32,393 new books are published in the United Kingdom
1970: Books on tape are popularized 1984: The ﬁrst desktop publishing program is invented by Macintosh.
1996: 968,735 different printed books are produced. The New York Times creates their website (www.nytimes.com).
2001: Wikipedia begins.
1975: Barnes and Noble becomes the ﬁrst American bookseller to discount books. 1993: The webʼs ﬁrst and longest continuously running blog is created. (http://forests.org/blog).
2000: 3,200,000 books are in print in the United States. 2003: The ﬁrst cell phone novel is published in Japan. 55% of US Households have Internet access.
2004: 8,000,000 American adults say they have created blogs 2005: There are 300,000,000 printed copies of the Harry Potter book series 2006: 3.1 billion books are sold this year.
2009: E-books begin to outsell physical books.
2007: More than 4.7 billion bibles have been printed. 12,000,000 American adults say they have created blogs. The Amazon Kindle, an e-book reader, is introduced. 2010: First Pulitzer is given out for Internet Journalism.
Henry James, Theodora Bosanquet and Feminism at The Turn of the Century By Natalia Razak Michael Hollinger reports one of the inspirations for Ghost-Writer was the relationship between the novelist Henry James and his secretary Theodora Bosanquet. Henry James (1843-1916) was an American-born author, essayist and critic who worked primarily as an expat in Europe, becoming a British citizen in 1915. He is oft thought to be the father of the realism movement. His stories primarily center on a comparison of the Old World with the New, featuring Americans interacting with the English, and social commentary on topics such as politics, class, status, and feminism. He was widely respected in his own time and moved in the same circles as other literary ﬁgures of the day, including Robert Browning, Lord Alfred Tennyson, and Ivan S. Turgenev. He never married. Speculations abound as to why – was he in love with his cousin? a closeted homosexual? too neurotic to handle a traditional marital relationship? – and though his personal letters and journals provide insight into those issues, the question has not been deﬁnitively answered.
“I suppose he found me harmless and I know that I found him overwhelming...Once I was seated opposite to him, the strong, slow stream of his deliberate speech played over me without ceasing.” – Theodora Bosanquet, from Henry James at Work Theodora Bosanquet was Jamesʼ typist and amanuensis from 1907 until his death – one of the most important times in his career. She was also an author in her own right, penning several memoirs about her years as a typist, including Henry James at Work (1924), originally published by Leonard and Virginia Woolfʼs Hogarth Press. The book offers insights into Jamesʼ writing process and their relationship. In 1907, Bosanquet heard a passage from Jamesʼ The Ambassadors being read as a typing exercise at the secretarial bureau where she worked. Bosanquet had been caught up in the feminist movement sweeping the world, and she recognized the passage and inquired as to its use. She discovered James was looking to hire a new amanuensis, and though she was not a typist, she was determined to get the position. She hastily learned
Henry James, Theodora Bosanquet and Feminism at The Turn of the Century (Continued) the rudiments of typing, and though initially awkward at the keyboard, James took a liking to her. She began taking his dictation later that year. Bosanquet and James forged an interesting relationship. James was of the opinion that typists, especially women, were to be an empty vessel through which his genius would ﬂow. He had ﬁred his previous male typists for having what he called “too much Personality” (qtd in Edel 94). He preferred them to be “without a mind” (qtd. in Edel 360). Bosanquet found this alternately humorous and troubling. “Mr. James assumes complete ignorance of any literary knowledge on the part of his amanuensis. He told me that The Newcomes was in one word and that it was by Thackeray!” (qtd. in Edel 362). But Bosanquet did not succumb to Jamesʼ preference – her diary shows her as frequently critical of him, and she is known to have disliked his propensity for alliteration. While his work with her was hardly collaborative, they had a good relationship and he (perhaps unwittingly) aided her pursuit of a parallel writing career in the long, intermittent silences of his writerʼs block. Their relationship was forged by the typewriter, a relatively new technology. Its advent allowed for the rapid transcription and archiving of records, accounts, and correspondences, and demand was rampant. With businesses clamoring to use the new machines, the only question was one of stafﬁng; for though the machines were quick, their operators were not. Men were not interested in clerical positions with no promise of advancement or high wages; they were used to being in a position of speaking, not of recording. Or as James put it, “too much Personality.” Women, however, had been ﬁlling similar posts since the Civil War. They were willing to work for half the pay as men, had no qualms about remaining in the same position their entire lives, and were quickly accepted as typists. After all, the typewriter “is especially adapted to feminine ﬁngers. They seem to be made for type-writing. The type-writing involves no hard labour, and no more skill than playing the piano” (Harrison 9), so women being better typists than men posed no threat. Remington, the leading brand, came out with the early “Sholes and Glidden” typewriter adorned with feminine décor and the same peddle treadle used for the companyʼs sewing machines. It was the Remington that bound Bosanquet and James. She writes, “During a fortnight when the Remington was out of order he dictated to an Oliver typewriter with evident discomfort, and he found it almost disconcerting to speak to something that made no responsive sound at all” (Bosanquet 248). The typewriter had become an intrinsic part of his writing; one he could not live without. He had been dictating to a typist since the 1890s, and by the time Bosanquet entered his life it was “a conﬁrmed habit, its effects being easily recognizable in his style, which became more and more like free, involved, unanswered talk” (Bosanquet 247). This comfort and dependence on dictation, along with the invention of the typewriter and the rise of the female typist, as well as the presence of an intelligent and talented amanuensis, all combined to create and foster the process by which James (and Bosanquet) produced their works.
History of the Foxtrot By Hillary R Rea
The foxtrot is a nearly one hundred-year-old form of social dance that was ﬁrst performed in 1914. Most historians credit the dance to be invented by, and named after the Vaudeville dancer and comedian Harry Fox. Fox performed this dance in his act with another Vaudeville group the Dolly Sisters. F.L. Clendenen credits him with inventing the dance in the 1914 book Dance Mad, where his dance steps were also recorded. Foxʼs incarnation of this ballroom dance was performed as a series of trotting steps. It soon evolved into a more graceful series of smooth glides by husband-and-wife competitive ballroom dancers Vernon and Irene Castle. Mr. and Mrs. Castle are also credited with popularizing all of modern social dancing. In the 1930s, renowned dance instructor and businessman Arthur Murray standardized the foxtrot. Murray, whose name is immortalized in a franchise of dance studios worldwide, sold dance lessons by mail. He also created packages of paper “footprints” that people would place on the ﬂoor and teach themselves how to dance. The foxtrot was one of these packaged lessons. From the late teens to the 1040s, the foxtrot was the most popular of social dances. Originally the foxtrot was performed to ragtime music but was later accompanied by the same Big Band music that was used for swing dancing. Most of the records that were released during this time period were songs marketed for dancing the foxtrot. In the 1950s, during the birth of Rock and Roll, record executives struggled to market the new music that was being released. Many early rock and roll singles were released as “foxtrots”, including “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets. It has since become the best selling “foxtrot” of all time. The foxtrot has been re-popularized by the reality TV competition show Dancing with the Stars. Celebrities such as Joey Fatone, Pamela Anderson, and Nicole Scherzinger have performed the foxtrot live in front of millions of at-home viewers. The foxtrot is performed to music that counts in 4. The most common patterns for this dance are slow – quick – quick and slow – slow – quick – quick. According to the International Standard of Ballroom Dancing, foxtrot can now be split into two types of dances: the slow foxtrot and the quick foxtrot, which is now referred to as the Quickstep. A basic foxtrot includes a Three Step (slow-quick-quick), a Feather Step (3 progressive steps), a Natural Turn (a turn to the right), a Reverse Turn (a turn to the left), Hover Steps (movement done on the balls of the feet), and a Closed Impetus (a closed movement or rotation that drives the dance).
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
SECTION THREE: OUR PRODUCTION Scenic Designer DAVID P. GORDON Lighting Designer JEROLD R. FORSYTH Dramaturg EDWARD SOBEL
Costume Designer CHARLOTTE CLOE FOX WIND Sound Designer JORGE COUSINEAU Assistant Director MATT SILVA
Stage Manager ALEC E. FERRELL
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
By Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind,Costume Designer
Who’s Who MEGAN BELLWOAR (Myra Babbage) So good to be back at the Arden! Favorites here:Dancing at Lughnasa, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Weir, Bunnicula, and Translations. A proud member of the Philadelphia theatre community, other credits include Act II Playhouse, 1812 Productions, PA Shakespeare Festival, Walnut Street Theatre, Peopleʼs Light and the Philadelphia Live Arts/Fringe Festivals. Look for her this spring in Dublin by Lamplight with Inis Nua. By day, she teaches and directs for Abington Friends School; by night (and everywhere in between), mama to Jam and Willa. Love and thanks to Jim, Terry and Michael—always, Michael. Also to Mrs. McDermott at Villa Maria Academy, who taught us all how to type.
PATRICIA HODGES (Vivian Woolsey) is thrilled to be making her debut at Arden Theatre Company in this elegant and passionate new play. She appeared on Broadway in A Man For All Seasons, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Six Degrees of Separation. Off-Broadway credit include Roseʼs Dilemma (Manhattan Theatre Club), Communicating Doors, On the Verge, and The Normal Heart (NY Shakespeare Festival). Regionally she has played leading roles in Night of the Iguana (Guthrie), Lettice and Lovage, Mrs. Warrenʼs Profession, The Seagull,
The Cherry Orchard, Woman in Mind, Betrayal, Three Tall Women, The Clean House, Hay Fever, and Much Ado About Nothing. Her most recent TV credits are Royal Pains, Another World, and Law & Order. DOUGLAS REES (Franklin Woolsey) Doug is thrilled to be back at the Arden, and proud to be continuing his association with Michael Hollinger. He created the role of “Carl” in the world premiere of Opus, and subsequently performed in the New York City premiere. He next a peared at the Arden in the revival of Michaelʼs An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf. He has performed at numerous theatres across the country, and recently appeared with Alec Baldwin and Elizabeth Banks on 30 ROCK. Though he now resides in New York City, he is a native Pittsburgher–GO STEELERS!
Interview with Michael Hollinger By Natalia Razak
Arden: What made you to decide to start writing plays? Michael Hollinger: I identiﬁed myself as a writer from a rather young age, writing poetry primarily at ﬁrst (“Fewer words,” as Mrs. Woolsey says in the play). But I was attracted to the play form early on, as my family was heavily involved in a community theatre in my home town -- acting, building sets, etc. I “ran lines” with my mother as she learned roles (something my own son is doing with my wife Megan downstairs as I write this), which acquainted me with the conventions of dramatic writing so that it was a very familiar form by the time I started writing short plays as a teenager.
A: How does being a musician inform your writing? MH: I think my sense of plays as an interplay of voices is enhanced by my experiences playing chamber music; I believe plays should be aurally satisfying even if you donʼt understand the language. Musicians also study form more rigorously than theatre artists do: Whatʼs a concerto? Whatʼs a symphony? Whatʼs a tone poem? Whatʼs a sonata? Whatʼs a cantata? Whatʼs a song cycle? There are models for all of these forms across the centuries, and, in my experience, musicians -- composers in particular -- tend to be more aware of the constraints and possibilities inherent in each. Consequently, Iʼm very interested in the form of each play, its structure, sequence of “movements,” how the various characters, like instruments in an ensemble, are brought in or out to produce a certain effect. Studying viola seriously also helped me acquire greater detachment in the revision process. When you practice a difﬁcult passage over and over, you canʼt waste time beating yourself up about a clumsy shift or ﬂat note. You just have to observe carefully and do it again and again, striving to get closer each time. This taught me a certain discipline with regard to revision -- a combination of rigor and patience.
A: What was the inspiration for Ghost~Writer? MH: A few years ago I ran across an anecdote about Henry James and his secretary, who typed as he dictated his novels and stories over the course of years. According to the anecdote, when James died the secretary claimed to continue receiving dictation from her late employer. My mother had died shortly before I encountered this story, and, through conversations with my father, I began thinking about “the presence of absence” -- that is, the power that a departed loved one holds over us, and how we negotiate the space left by that person. As the play continued to develop, I also found myself looking at the nature of creative process itself, that mysterious combination of craft and what most people would call inspiration.
Interview with Michael Hollinger (Contined) A: Is the ending meant to be ambivalent? Are we to believe the novel has been ﬁnished? MH: The play is designed to make the audience question Myraʼs relationship to Woolsey and the work they produce together, and this perspective changes throughout the play. Iʼd rather not comment speciﬁcally on the ending, so as not to reveal too much.
A: What do you want the relationship between Myra and Woolsey, both pre- and posthumously, to indicate, if anything? What are your thoughts on what passes between them? MH: Clearly, Myra and Woolsey have shared not only space and time but also a deeply intimate relationship. Like an artistʼs model, Myra has been present for and integral to the process of creation, and, as we see in the play, she comes to impact the outcome of Woolseyʼs work in a many ways, both large and small.
A: Why do you think the Arden is a good ﬁt for this play? MH: The Ardenʼs mission focuses on the telling of stories -- something I strive to do well in all my plays, and particularly in this one, which reﬂects storytelling on a variety of levels. In my experience, the Ardenʼs audience is intelligent, cultivated, and adventurous, and I trust theyʼll enter this play with
Megan Bellwoar as Myra Babbage
1. What elements of design stood out to you the most in this production? How did they help to drive the story? 2. What device does the director use to switch from Myraʼs storytelling in the present to the memory scenes that take place? How do the actors make these transitions? 3. Mrs. Woolsey creates tension and evokes competition within the narrative of Ghost~Writer. In what way does Mrs. Woolsey compete with Myra? How is she competing with her husband? 4. Ghost~Writer is the 7th world premiere production of a new play by Michael Hollinger at Arden Theatre Company. Imagine Hollingerʼs creative process. How do you think it relates to Woolseyʼs? 5. One of the main themes of Ghost~Writer is isolation. How does this theme resonate with each character? 6. Myra provides an oral narrative; Woolsey preserves his stories by writing them down, while Hollinger is telling his Megan Bellwoar as Myra and Douglas Rees as Woosley story through live theater. How do these three forms of storytelling compare and differ? How do they all come together in this play? 7. Discuss the signiﬁcance of dance and music in Ghost~Writer . 8. Ghost~Writer deals with Myraʼs relationship to Woolsey both while alive and posthumously. Discuss the supernatural elements that occur in this story. Describe the “presence of absence” that Hollinger puts forth in his play. 9. Creative process is the combination of craft and inspiration. How does the creative process of a writer differ from that of a director? How about an actor? A designer? 10. The Arden often reconﬁgures the theater seating to meet the needs of each production. Why would the director have chosen this particular audience arrangement? Do you think it was a good choice?
Published on Oct 1, 2010