Ghost-Writer Press

The Kansas City Star (excerpts):

“Ghost-Writer,” an extended one-act play that opens Spinning Tree Theatre’s season, has the quality of a poem with its shifting focus and nonlinear narrative.

Playwright Michael Hollinger, who studied viola at Oberlin Conservatory, has described his plays as being like musical compositions. “Ghost-Writer” does, indeed, ebb and flow like a piece of music, which the Spinning Tree cast executes with impressive skill under the direction of Michael Grayman.

 

This is a deeply romantic play, rendered with humor and compassion, and at its heart is a love story. (Robert Gibby) Brand and (Katie) Kalahurka play the growing emotional bond between Woolsey and Myra beautifully and create a poignancy that permeates the last half of the play.

 

Kalahurka is a terrific comedic actress and she uses those skills to good effect. But she also digs deep to give the performance an emotional power that is quietly astonishing. Her work, like the play itself, sneaks up on you.

 

Brand is in another role seemingly custom-made for him, and his patrician bearing and mastery of language are so natural that he makes it all look effortless. It isn’t, of course. He brings a phenomenal skill set to the stage.

 

(Jeannie Blau’s) rendering of Vivian is complex and nuanced. It’s easy to imagine how a lesser actress might have rendered Vivian as a one-dimensional foil. That was never a possibility with Blau in the role.

 

The design team has done wonders on the…Quality Hill Playhouse stage. Laura Burkhart’s scenic design and Sean Glass’s lighting create a deep-hued World War I-era New York apartment, crowded but orderly and richly detailed. Gary Campbell does a fine job with the costumes and allows himself a bit of extravagance with Vivian’s series of richly detailed dresses and spectacular hats.