Arts and Entertainment

July 12, 2012

From: International City Theatre

Long Beach, CA - ICT artistic director caryn desai directs the West Coast premiere of the Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award-winning Ghost-Writer, an intimate spine-tingler from playwright Michael Hollinger (Opus). Performances at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

Something mysterious is happening: acclaimed novelist Franklin Woolsey has died, but his devoted secretary remains poised at her typewriter waiting to channel the words that will complete his masterpiece. This ghost story of literary proportions questions where we draw the line between fact and fiction, between this life and beyond. It's up to the audience to decide what to believe …

"I love language, and that's what this play is all about," says desai. "It has something beautiful to say about the actual art of writing what writers go through to create a literary piece, down to which words to choose and even which punctuation."

Ghost-Writer was inspired by an anecdote Hollinger came across about the secretary to early 20th-century novelist Henry James. She typed as he dictated his novels and stories, and after his death 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," he explained in an interview. "As the play continued to develop, I also found myself looking at the nature of the creative process itself, that mysterious combination of craft and what most people would call inspiration."

Michael Hollinger's other plays include Opus, An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf, Red Herring, Tiny Island, Tooth and Claw and Incorruptible. He has written seven touring plays for young audiences, as well as numerous short works. For PBS, he has scripted three short films and co-authored the feature-length Philadelphia Diary. His awards include a Harold and Mimi Steinberg New Play Citation from the American Theatre Critics Association, the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays, the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist, a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award, the Frederick Loewe Award for Musical Theatre, a commission from the EST/Sloan Science and Technology Project, and fellowships from the Independence Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Hollinger is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Villanova University.

caryn desai is the producing artistic director for International City Theatre, where she most recently directed the critically acclaimed 2012 season opener, God of Carnage. Other ICT directing credits include The Old Settler, Loving Repeating...A Musical of Gertrude Stein, The Clean House, Bright Ideas, Backwards in High Heels, Once on This Island (six NAACP nominations including direction), Raisin (LADCC Best Production), and Dinah Was (multiple Ovation nominations). She has served on grant panels for L.A. County and the City of Long Beach and as a speaker/panelist for the SRO Theatre Conference at USC on Best Practices, the Technical Theatre Conference about the role of a director, and more. She was named "Enterprising Woman in the Arts" in Long Beach, and most recently received the Rosie The Riveter Foundation's "We Can Do It" Award for Arts and Culture.

WHEN: Previews: August 21, 22, 23 at 8 pm
Performances: August 24 through September 16, 2012

Performance Schedule:
Tuesday at 8 pm: August 21, 2012 (preview)
Wednesday at 8 pm: August 22, 2012 (preview)
Thursdays at 8 pm: August 23 (preview), 30; Sept. 6, 13, 2012
Fridays at 8 pm: August 24 (Opening Night), 31; Sept. 7, 14, 2012
Saturdays at 8 pm: August 25; September 1, 8, 15, 2012
Sundays at 2 pm: August 26; September 2, 9, 16, 2012

Long Beach Performing Arts Center
300 East Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802

TICKETS: Opening Night: $55 (includes reception following the performance)
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: $44
Thursday: $37
Previews: $29

HOW: (562) 436-4610 or