Have you seen… [A Ghost]?

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I’ve always loved a good ghost story. When I was a child in Thessaloniki, just across the street from our apartment block there was a big empty field about the size of a stadium. Soon after, it would fall victim to modernisation and transform into another big apartment block, of those cement cubicles promising ”better living conditions and unprecedented comfort”. But I was fortunate to enjoy it as my playground, albeit briefly. Crossing the street was easy and safe; cars were few and far between. We were basically growing up in the streets and our imagination was running wild.

On one corner of this field, surrounded by a small courtyard with overgrown weeds and a single big lilac bush that was blooming in spring, its blossoms carrying their divine intoxicating aroma all over the neighbourhood, sat an abandoned house. It was derelict. Its roof was rotting and partly collapsing. It was perfect. The epicenter of stories about bizarre creeks, eerie whispers and strange noises, enough to trigger our little explorers’ imagination. We called it the Haunted House. It was luring us in its mysterious depths and we answered the call eagerly, climbing through broken windows, feeling bold in unison. We sat in the dusk, taking turns in inventing chilling stories and calling the spirits. The slightest creak was giving us goosebumps and our nervous laughs betrayed an anxious tremble. We were not afraid of ghosts – or weren’t we…

the-lilacs-1900.jpg!Large

Fast forward to March 2014. Great Newport Street, London. The Arts Theatre. We enter the dark auditorium slowly, cautiously. An ambient sound, its monotony broken only by sudden rattles and eerie whispers, is following us everywhere. There are nervous giggles all around and a sense of excitement, reminding me of the haunted house of my childhood. The safety curtain lifts off and for the next 80, seat-gripping, creepily exciting minutes the stories unfold. Masterminded and directed by The League of Gentlemen’s Jeremy Dyson, and Andy Nyman, co-creator and director of Derren Brown’s television and stage shows, ”Ghost Stories” is a thrilling and genuinely entertaining performance, funny and scary in equal measure. Writing anything more about it would destroy the element of surprise and take away half the fun; suffice to say that if an intense experience and some serious back-of-the-neck hair-raising is what excites the little child in you that refuses to grow up, look no further.

”Ghost Stories” will keep spooking unaware audiences until 17 August 2014.

You have been warned!

safety1

Artwork:

Mircea Suciu
WOMAN YOU MAKE ME A MAN
223 x 150cm, charcoal paper, 2011 (private collection)

via Aeroplastics Brussels

**

Mikhail Vrubel

THE LILACS
oil on canvas, 1900 (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia)

**

Ghost Stories

Arts Theatre
6-7 Great Newport St, London

Viewed on 23 March 2014

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21 thoughts on “Have you seen… [A Ghost]?

  1. Wanted to tell you – watched an incredible programme on BBC 2 last night that I think you would love – The Other Story of Pop Art – presented by the rather wonderful Alistair Sooke. Had a very interesting take on women artists..hope you can find it on Youtube xxx

  2. Love the shot of the safety curtain.
    I will be looking into that performance, and maybe manage to see it.
    The lilac is in full bloom here at the moment, lovely.

    • Chills and fun guaranteed, hope you make it!
      I played a bit with the safety curtain to add to the spice – there’s no end to what one can do with these on line tools like Pixlr – even total amateurs like me!
      Oh, the lilac, the aroma, the memories of Spring! It never fails to bring me back to a wonderful place!

    • Can’t blame you… I’d never wanna watch horror by myself! But I did enjoy immensely the dark, surreal and very very funny ”The League of Gentlemen”… so when I saw one of its creators’ signature, I couldn’t resist the ”Ghost Stories”. And he delivered even better than I expected! xxx

  3. One small boy . . two watched him. Light rose above his body hovering their momentarily. Then vanishing upwards. His mother then decided to have one more.

  4. You made me think about the ruined workshops behind my first school´s yard, which we used to be scared of. I had to google the map of my home town to discovered they are gone too (fortunately, I must say).

    • It was my first theatrical experience of the genre and, I can tell you, this directness makes a whole lot of difference. I went in thinking, bah, there’s no cgi or other sfx so how scary can it be? But it was! Not all of it, just precisely when intended. This funny-scary-unexpected-twisted combination worked! May be it would have you land on Master’s lap which is not a bad thing at all!

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