Ghostly musical performed at local haunt


Band member Rebecca Rowland (left) performing in “Ghost Quartet” at Blue Room Theatre. Photo by House of Ushers Productions.

A traveling theatre group performed “Ghost Quartet,” a musical written by Dave Malloy, at Blue Room Theatre on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Theatre buffs may know Malloy as the writer of broadway hit “Natasha Pierre And The Great Comet of 1812.” Ghost Quartet is a project Malloy worked on during the run of that musical.

Ghost Quartet is formatted like a record with several tracks spanning four sides. Each track reveals more about the story either through lyrics or snippets of conversation. Together, the tracks follow the disjointed story of a woman seeking vengeance on her sister over the course of many lifetimes.

Four actors portray the entire cast of characters which is repeatedly used to express the parallels between characters in separate reincarnations. Those same four actors also play the entire soundtrack.

The production group, The House of Ushers, wanted the show to be eclectic and interactive. The tracks, which varied from lively jaunts about whiskey to somber ballads about death, were complemented by lamp light which dimmed and went completely dark during dramatic moments. During one song, real shots of whiskey were distributed to the audience. In another number about wanting to be a ghost, the cast handed out percussion instruments which produced a sound like jangling bones.

“It’s very creative,” Rachel Newkirk, an audience member, said. She was seated in the second row with an empty plastic shot glass folded in her hand. “You can tell that the performers are enjoying themselves.”

House of Ushers Productions consists of four recently-graduated theatre students from UC Irvine. The company has three more stops on its Ghost Quartet tour: Berkeley on September 8, San Francisco on September 10 and 11 and Hollywood on September 13 and 14.

For more information, visit their website.

Emily Neira can be reached at [email protected]