Directed and Produced by Toni Clair.
This play is a team effort between Toni Clair and Patrick Carpenter. Clair has acted and directed several plays and short films, but this is Clair’s first production which was performed at the 2018 Orlando Fringe Theater Festival.
Ghost Among Us is Patrick Carpenter’s first penned screenplay. Carpenter’s script takes you through three episodes – each a famous ghost story from different periods of American folklore of the paranormal. One episode is based on an actual court transcript from the late 19th century.
ORLANDO SENTINEL REVIEW
Review: ‘Ghosts Among Us’ – Orlando Fringe 2018 By DEWAYNE BEVIL
MAY 20, 2018 | 9:15 PM
“Ghosts Among Us” takes the audience through 3 distinct episodes – each a famous ghost story from American folklore. These tales examine how belief (and disbelief) in the paranormal has shaped both individual lives and our collective culture:
I was uneasy going into “Ghosts Among Us.” I had imagined disturbing stories, the sort that might keep me awake at night. But the trio of the scenes are squarely in the paranormal category, the kind of occurrences so difficult to explain away. And here, there’s no Scooby gang to reveal that all the mysteries were the handiwork of the crotchety caretaker.
The three cases within the Fringe show are based on first-person accounts, and the production takes on a sociological bent by examining the lingering effects on the eyewitnesses. The stories are spread over different eras and locales. Flashbacks, effectively done with lighting and staging, assist in the storytelling.
“Ghosts Among Us” begins with a recollection of a traveling businessman, who came upon a woman – clearly from way back in the day – who came out of nowhere, and then she disappeared abruptly after leading him to a cemetery. More details could have made that more disconcerting. The second segment featured a man who reluctantly retold a story of a ghost ship. The end revelation wasn’t as gasp-worthy as presented.
The spookiest scene was the third one, set in 1890s West Virginia, where a grieving mother testifies against her son-in-law, who’s accused of killing her daughter. She claims her dead daughter visited her – four times — and pointed her toward damning evidence. The flashbacked arrival of her offspring – accompanied by the stage- whispered cry of “Momma, Momma” – was unexpectedly chilling. Mom holds her own on the stand despite incredulous questioning from the defense attorney, who demands (repeatedly) that she say it was all a dream. (Any prime-time lawyer would have objected [repeatedly] with the “asked and answered” clause. )
Fringe Factor: During the second scene, the air-conditioning inside the smallish Breakthrough Theatre kicked on and gently blew the hair of the actress on stage. Or was it the ghost of Winter Park Past?
Curtain Call: Be not afraid. You’ve been more wigged out around a campfire.
Where & When: Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park, 60 minutes, $12, ages 13 and up. 8:35 p.m. May 22; 8:35 p.m. May 23.