Tisch Alumni and Faculty Breathe Life Into ‘Holy Ghosts’


Courtesy of James M. Wilson

Holy Ghosts is playing at Theatre East.

Jared Peraglia, Contributing Writer

It’s been 40 years since Romulus Linney’s “Holy Ghosts” was given a New York stage. Theatre East is now reviving this critically acclaimed story with several Tisch alumni and faculty on an Off-Broadway stage.

“Holy Ghosts” follows a couple on the brink of divorce. As the wife Nancy attends church, her husband Coleman disrupts the service under the guise of getting his truck and wife back. What he finds instead is real community and a place to lay the burden of his anger, life and grief.

Theatre East opened their doors wide Saturday evening to a bustling crowd of theater-goers eager to witness this intimate rare revival. The snug venue of Urban Stages, on 30th Street, juxtaposed Theatre East’s buzzing crowds. Lizzy Jarrett and Alston Slatton, 2017 Tisch graduates, are both cast members in the show. They expressed a sense of community that lies within Theatre East.

“[Theatre East] is committed to telling honest stories about fully-realized human beings.” Slatton said in an email to WSN.

Lori Fischer is a Tisch Dramatic Writing adjunct instructor and is also a cast member. She said the play’s narrative is in line with Theatre East’s mission.

“Theatre East is like the church in ‘Holy Ghosts’’ where everyone is truly welcome,” Fischer told WSN in an email.

“It is a healing and communal energy that keeps you coming back to them,” Jarrett said in an email to WSN.

Judson Jones, play director and Tisch adjunct professor, said that the play has been resurrected specifically in 2018 to spread the message of hope.

“I think we live in a time where we often feel like the victim and ‘Holy Ghosts’ shows us that we don’t have to be — we can take control,” Jones said.

Slatten also spoke about the insight we get seeing the play at this time in history.

“If we were to see these people on the news or in the next viral video, we’d laugh at them,” Slatten said. “We’d say they’re uneducated, crazy, rednecks, trailer trash, bible thumpers. This play gives us a view from their perspective.”

This heavy-loaded NYU cast and production team gave multiple nods to Tisch for equipping them with the proper training in order to succeed in a competitive industry.

Oliver Palmer, another Tisch graduate, shared a message for incoming audiences.

“Right now, when our country [is] split, I believe it’s part of our responsibility as theater makers to illuminate all the qualities of the people that can so easily be othered,” Palmer told WSN in an email. “The only agenda we can push is to see these [the characters] for everything that they are.”

Performances will run until Oct. 6, and ticket discounts are available for students.

Email Jared Peraglia at [email protected].