Directed and Designed by LON WINSTON


Myra Babbage. . . . . . .VALERIE HAUGEN
Franklin Woolsey. . . . .LON WINSTON
Vivian Woolsey. . . . . . . . . .EILEEN SEELEY

Lighting & Sound Designer. . . . . . . .BRAD MOORE
Stage Manager. . . . . . . . . .OLIVIA SAVARD

Beautiful, Heartfelt, and Tough
TRTC's "Ghost-Writer"
by Michael Schöpe
Theatre Hotspot Editor

Thunder River Theatre Company stages Michael Hollinger's Ghost-Writer and wins on every point. The overwhelmed opening night audience agrees: This play could already be the smash hit of the just-begun theatre season.

As the stage light fades and the play ends, the audience literally jumps to their feet before you could count to three, applauding passionately. What a performance! Personally, I am deeply touched and likely not the only one who secretly wipes a tear away.

I actually don't want to dig too deep into the plot. I believe that this show is even more enjoyable if you don’t know every twist and turn ahead. But here is at least some frame information: The play is located in a writer’s studio in New York City. The time is 1919. Recent graduate, Myra Babbage, gets engaged as a typist by established novelist, Franklin Woolsey. Over the course of their collaboration they will slowly develop a multi-faceted professional – and personal – relationship, much to the discomfort of Mrs. Woolsey, who is trying to hold on to the marriage with her odd genius.

Franklin Woolsey is played by Lon Winston. He nails the role of the quirky idiot savant, an ensnared character who seems to live his life mostly through his writing. Eileen Seeley is a wonderful Vivian Woolsey, bitter and bitchy, but never cliche, instead alarmingly human. Heroine of the show is Valerie Haugen in the role of Myra. Her portrayal of the young woman who entangles more and more in the work, her fantasies and the relation to her employer, is simply brilliant. She carries the play, switching through diverse levels of time, reality and memory. At the end she leads the show to a dramatic climax that will leave no visitor untouched.

Ghost-Writer is written by Michael Hollinger, by the way a former student of Lon Winston. Theatre fans will remember his name from past productions at TRTC (An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf) or, more recently, Opus and Hope & Gravity at the Aspen Fringe Festival. For Ghost-Writer, he received the 2011 Barrymore Award. Beside the fact that the play is cleverly written, it features a beautiful language that alone should earn him a special award. If you thought that subtlety was a lost art, you will especially enjoy his writing style. The delightful wording together with the sincere play of the actors creates a wonderful and moving theatre experience.

Letter to the Editor - "TRTC's Ghost-Writer is a must-see"

We are so fortunate to have regional theater and Lon Winston. Once again, Thunder River Theater Company presents us with a poignant drama.

TRTC's performance of Ghost-Writer by Michael Hollinger is a story of love and writing (and punctuation). Valerie Haugen gives a mesmerizing performance as Myra Babbage who, as Franklin Woolsey's (Lon Winston) devoted typist, continues typing (writing?) Franklin's greatest novel even after his passing. Myra, who is in love with Franklin and his words, perseveres to the novel's end in the face of scrutiny from the outside world and criticism from Franklin's jealous wife Vivian (played powerfully by Eileen Seeley).

Lon Winston's subtle direction and design of this performance allow all actors to give memorable performances. Ghost-Writer is a must-see.

Tom Baker
Carbondale and New Castle
(Past Carbondale Town Manager)