Ghost @ Metro Theatre Company


Castle Cranshaw likes to run. He can run fast. He’s so fast, he calls himself Ghost. He learned to run fast when his drug-addicted
father shot at him and his mother, fleeing for their lives. By the time he gets to middle school, that
broken family life weighs heavily on him. He gets in trouble at school, but the principal
gives him a break so he doesn’t lose his place with an elite local track team he’s about
to join in a meet. He got on the team after he watched them running
in the park. When the coach started one of the team on
a practice run, Ghost lined up and ran with him, dramatically nearly beating him. The impressed coach offered Ghost a place
on the team. Ghost wasn’t used to the discipline the team
demands, but he sticks with it and improves. He becomes a part of the team. But he slips up badly once along the way. And he lies about it. When Coach finds out, he threatens to expel
Ghost from the team. Instead, Coach uses it as a learning experience,
the biggest one of the many he has provided Ghost. Coach, it turns out, had grown up in this
same neighborhood but had gone on to become a gold-winning Olympic athlete. The play does not end, as I expected, with
Ghost winning a spectacular race. Instead, it ends with Ghost growing into a
responsible individual. I wouldn’t have minded a little more dramatic
excitement at the end and along the way, but, like Polkadots, Ghost makes its points. Jacqueline Thompson, who directed Polkadots
for the Imaginary Theatre Company, directed Ghosts for Metro Theater Company. Here also she guided the cast in their characters’
fully realized personal interactions and development. As a play about running, Ghosts has more physical
activity. That’s ingeniously achieved with help from
the dance-like movements choreographer Heather Beal provides for the runners and with David
Blake’s striking set that creates a stadium’s tracks on the Grandel stage. Jayson M. Lawshee designed the lighting. Felia K. Davenport provided the team’s running
suits and other costumes, with evocative sound by Jackie “Jackpot” Sharp and enlightening
projections by Michael B. Perkins. Jarris L. Williams takes the role of Ghost
and runs with it. Carl Overly, Jr., expands his range with his
solid maturity as Coach. Alicia Reve’ Like plays Ghost’s concerned
mother. Joe Hanrahan doubles as a friendly neighborhood
shopkeeper and as the junior high principal. Rae Davis, Ernest Emmanuel Peeples, and Jaz
Tucker create several individuals each as members of the track team and others in Ghost’s
world. With Ghosts, Metro Theater Company continues
unfolding a pleasing season of public performances at
the Grandel.

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