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Ghost Light: An intimate encounter with grief

posted by School of Theatre on Wed, Jan 18, 2012
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

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By Negi Esfandiari, Berkeley High School

There are many different ways to confront death, whether it is leaning on someone’s shoulder or grieving alone. Seeing this idea played out on stage is one of my favorite aspects of Berkeley Rep’s new production of Ghost Light, which is based on Jonathan Moscone’s own confrontation with his father’s death. I never thought I would see art and death come together in such a beautiful marriage. Although Ghost Light has many admirable qualities, the most captivating was how Mr. Moscone took something so close to his heart and prepared it for hundreds of strangers to watch.

Negi interviews Ghost Light actor, Tyler James Myers, at Teen Night.

Negi interviews Ghost Light actor, Tyler James Myers, at Teen Night.

Last Friday evening, the many Teen Night participants, myself included, made their way to the Thrust Stage, chatting and wondering what they were about to experience. As I read an interview with director Jon Moscone and playwright Tony Taccone in the Ghost Light edition of Berkeley Rep Magazine, I suddenly noticed that they were both in the house. Then the lights went down, and the play began.

I have found myself tearing up during many plays, but until Ghost Light I had never experienced crying out of sympathy, or grief over the loss of a character before. How the actual Jon Moscone was able to watch this play without falling apart (especially when his father’s “ghost” makes an appearance), I have no idea.

The experience was exceptional. The way Ghost Light affected the audience was unlike any other audience reaction I’ve seen. The fact that it was so personal, to the point where it could potentially be painful or traumatic for its creator, was a feat indeed. It will definitely grab every audience, and perhaps inspire them to face their own experiences with loss. There was a barrier broken down in Ghost Light: the chasm between complete strangers, and the intimacy of one’s private life. Truly, it made all the difference.

Negi is a Junior at Berkeley High School.  She is a Teen Council Events Chair and was an actor in last year’s Teen One-Acts Festival. 


I wish I have a way to see it. I believe the easiest way to deal with the loss of a loved one is to find people who are going through the same thing. A support group would help if friends or family are unavailable. I think movies and productions like this would help as well.

Andi Smidth | Thu, Jul 5, 2012

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