Buck Creek Players

Directed by Gregory Howard

3 stars

I've seen productions of other Henrik Ibsen plays that make the groundbreaking 19th century playwright seem like a modern revelation. Except for its several good comic exchanges, however, Buck Creek's production of Ghosts (translated by Arthur Kopit) treads too heavily upon Ibsen's critique of Victorian mores and his many references to ghosts (past selves, past sins, and surfacing secrets). Ibsen's heroine Helen has sacrificed her entire life to duty. The pastor she idolized as a young woman told her that it was her duty to stand by her husband, even if he was a boozing philanderer. Decades later and years after his death, she is still towing the line. Through speeches delivered by Helen's Bohemian son, Ibsen warns us that duty sucks the joy out of life. Unfortunately, these speeches suck the joy out of the play and build to a melodramatic conclusion involving one last secret, a swooning son, and a weeping mother. The play is almost saved by great comic foils. Jon Lindley plays the foolishly sanctimonious pastor who thinks secrets should be kept at all costs. Bernard Wurger is the wiley tradesman who will keep secrets that pay. Through June 13. 862-2270,

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