GHOST

GHOST

  • Genre Musical
  • Stage Music Theatre
  • Premiere18. October 2014
  • Length2:45 hod.
  • Number of reprises95
  • Final performance18. May 2018

a romantic musical

The musical version keeps the original storyline, which skilfully combines a love story with comedy and drama elements. It also pushes the envelope as regards production techniques with its use of the latest technology, blending the real and supernatural world together on stage. The musical premiered in Manchester in March 2011. That same year in June it moved to London, where it had over 500 reprises. The musical was taken to Broadway in the U.S. in April 2012. At present, its English tour is still ongoing and we are only the third mainland European country (after Italy and Holland) where it will be shown. Real theatre magic and illusions which our spectators have never seen here before will be shown at Brno City Theatre’s Music Theatre at the Czech premiere.

Author

  • Bruce Joel Rubin
  • Dave Stewart
  • Glen Ballard

Directed by

Assistant director

  • Stano Slovák

Translation

  • Jiří Josek

Dramaturgist

Music production

Choirmaster

Accompaniment

Choreography

Assistant choreography

Theatrical backdrop projections

Sound Direction

Light direction

Music and sound supervision

Asistentka kostýmní výtvarnice

Produkce

THE SINGING WORLD BEYOND THE GRAVE

Vít Závodský 9. February 2015 zdroj Týdeník Rozhlas

Many film fans will be happy to remember the well-known and moving Oscar film by Jerry Zucker in which a treacherously murdered man unselfishly and caringly protects his fiancé from his murderer’s further plans even after death. Not long after the first performance of the stage musical adaptation of Ghost (2011) by British authorial trio Bruce Joel Rubin, Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, it appeared at Brno City Theatre in a Czech premiere based on a translation by Jiří Josek and produced by Stanislav Moša. The authors have created a multi-genre, musically multi-layered and dynamic show with romantic detective-story, mystery and comedy elements, a precise story line, inventive special effects and admirable acting performances (Dušan Vitázek, Svetlana Janotová, Robert Jícha, Zdena Herfortová). Theatregoers attending the many announced repeats can once again reassure themselves that the musical repertoire of Brno City Theatre is continuing to offer a professional theatre experience that is rightly appreciated by both domestic and foreign audiences as well as professional critics.

 

BRNO’S GHOST ISN´T JUST A WEEPY LOVE STORY

Michal Prax 23. November 2014 zdroj www.studentpoint.cz

Another film legend has come to life at Brno City Theatre. Ghost, a film which hit the silver screen in 1990 and grabbed a couple of Oscars, has come back to life as a musical which started out as a regional performance in Manchester but made it as far as the West End.

Brno City Theatre have really tried hard with the first musical premiere of this year´s season, plumping for an immensely popular title whose name already guarantees success. Why, whenever one mentions the word Ghost, everyone immediately thinks of the 1990s love story featuring Patrick Swayze as Sam, a man whose ghost is unable to leave his fiancé Molly (Demi Moore) because he wants to protect her from their “friend” Carl (Tony Goldwyn). Perhaps many people will also remember the crazy witch Oda Mae, distinctively portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg, who got an Oscar for this role! However, how can one manage to recreate all the film’s special effects in a theatre?

Brno´s production is purely theatrical in nature. While in London and New York the whole stage set was supplemented by projections on LED screens, Brno got by with the aid of clever animator Petr Hloušek and Christopher Weyers´ great scenographic concept. The whole musical requires high quality technical facilities and timing is particularly important. The highlights as regards scenography include the scene in the underground and Willie being hit by a car. The lighting design is also an important feature, and was also excellent. The effect of the laser ring, which travels through the audience and gives viewers the opportunity to accompany Sam on his last journey, is the most exceptional, but we can also see Sam pass through other people or doors, or levitate in the underground. The relatively natural-looking effects used to depict people being pulled into hell or carried up into heaven are also of importance. Andrea Kučerová´s costumes are generally contemporary and appropriately everyday in nature, though in the case of Oda Mae they branch out into truly Afro-ethnic style, combined with Gypsy decorations.

Jiří Josek´s translation is also fine, avoiding useless descriptiveness or exalted rhymes. The music written by Dave Stuart and Glen Ballard is great too - even though it consists mostly of pop songs, which are primarily electronic in the original score, they receive a more classic orchestral treatment at Brno City Theatre. Simply speaking, all of the modern aspects of the film soundtrack, including the electronic background music, have been abandoned in Brno. The only exception is the Ghost in the underground’s song, which wouldn´t work without electronic music. The famous Unchained Melody from the film isn´t missing either, this time delivered as something of an Elvis Presley parody accompanied by main protagonist Sam on the guitar. There isn´t much to criticize about Hana Kratochvilová´s choreographic production - everything works relatively well. The choreographic climax is definitely the number Jsem za vodou.

Oda Mae, clairvoyant and spiritualist, gives the most impressive performance, garnering all the attention whenever she appears on stage. Three ladies alternate in the role, each of them different and special in her own way, even though they say the same words and sing the same songs. Andrea Březinová is the youngest and the craziest. Markéta Sedláčková’s singing and acting is brilliant. Zdena Herfortová is the oldest but also the most unrestrained. She simply cannot but entertain you. Every joke, movement and gesture is thought through down to the slightest detail!

Aleš Slanina and Dušan Vitázek alternate in the character of Sam. It is a very balanced alternation and I can´t find any flaws in their performance. On top of that, they both sing excellently.

“A swine dressed as a friend” – I don´t know how else to describe Carl´s character. The two actors that play this character portray him in completely different ways. While Jícha is self-confident up to the last moment, Studénka´s Carl is psychically torn and disturbed. Jakub Zedníček and Kristian Pekar second him well in the role of Willie. Milan Němec (the Ghost in the hospital), Stano Slovák and Igor Ondříček (the mouldy Ghost in the underground) and Viki Matušovová, Tereza Martinková and Hana Kovaříková (Oda Mae´s sisters) all shine in their smaller roles.

Brno´s Ghost is a demanding production from all points of view, from the technical side to the acting and singing. Some people may find this disappointing, but once again Brno has pulled it off in style. Ghost is a production without a single weak point. You will hold your breath, cry and be royally entertained. In fact, I have never seen a musical that combines a crime story, romance and comedy before. Ghost has all of these things in decent doses and with perfect timing. Brno production definitely isn’t just a typical women’s tear-jerker - its an unrivalled criminal-romantic-horror-sci-fi musical show for all generations!

 

Ghost supplies special effects as well as corruption on Wall Street

Luboš Mareček 23. October 2014 zdroj www.echo24.cz

Brno City Theatre has added another item to its portfolio of new musicals which have previously only been performed on English or American soil, producing the Czech premiere of the musical Ghost, an adaptation of the romantic film of the same name from 1990. The musical has already toured the world but, so far, only four European countries have seen it.

The stage version of Ghost was created three years ago in Manchester. Subsequently, the production travelled to London’s West End and later appeared also on Broadway. Musicals inspired by the celluloid art and direct theatrical transcripts of films are no novelty. Brno City Theatre likes to produce pieces which first became famous and successful with the public as films. Let´s name, for example, some of the works shown in the past three years: The Full Monty!, Mary Poppins, A Little Shop of Horrors and Flashdance.

Ghosts levitating on stage

Most of the musicals named above became blockbusters, and it will probably be no different in the case of Ghost. However, this performance chose different means and themes to its predecessors. Apart from the touching love story in which dead Sam must protect his living Molly, and only after will his soul find peace, it is also a thrilling story about corruption on Wall Street topped with witty spiritual fantasy elements. With the skilful scriptwriting (the libretto and song texts were created by the author of the film script Bruce Joel Rubin himself), the mixing of genres mentioned above, a lot of technical finesse, the poppy music and the crazy speed, a great slice of entertainment has been created in Brno that will appeal not only to romantic spectators.

The director of the production, Stanislav Moša, is an experienced author of similar great spectacles. In addition, he found excellent co-workers for his Ghost. Scenographer Christopher Weyers has created a two-level stage which easily changes into a large loft apartment for the couple in love, a tunnel in the underground, the crazy black spiritualist’s salon or just a suggestion of the furniture in a luxurious bankers’ office.

The skilful projection work by Petr Hloušek and Dalibor Černák contributes to the success of the performance, their projected video loops adding dynamism to the group scenes of the morning rush hour on New York’s Wall Street, or at other times depicting levitating ghosts in a transparent underground carriage. Add to this the laser effects which shape the tunnel into the afterlife or the final journey of Sam into heaven, or perhaps the levitating characters and objects floating in the air. Thanks to this, even spectators who may think the moving story of the main couple somewhat too bittersweet in places will find something to enjoy.

Sugar candy as well as jazz

The musical Ghost manages to run the whole gamut of popular music with ease during the three hours. There are sugar candy duets but also fast numbers with a touch of jazz or swing, Negro gospels and even a bit of rap. The music production with a live orchestra conducted by Dan Kalousek is an experience, as is traditional.

Despite a lack of smoothness during the first singing performance of the premiere evening, the actors in the main roles quickly got into form. Svetlana Janotová has black hair just like Demi Moore in the film and Dušan Vitázek is similarly handsome and well built as Patrick Swayze in his role. However, rather than their slight resemblance to the Hollywood stars, it is their ability to perform the touching and tragic story soberly, pleasantly and without the expected musical sickliness that is much more important. Both are very experienced musical actors, which they confirm with their singing and acting during this show.

They even avoided lapsing into unconvincing sweetness with the central song of the musical (and also the film) and only well known hit of the evening, the famous Unchained Melody from way back in 1955. Elvis Presley made this delicate love song famous and Brno’s producers left it as the only song in the whole production to be sung in the original English.

The psychic rules

The premiere of Ghost also featured another strong point. It was the performance of Zdena Herfortová in the role of crazy spiritualist Oda Mae, who is the only person able to mediate communication between dead Sam and Molly. Herfortová makes the most of her role as the nutty black con-artist in a crazy costume with such verve that the audience explode with laughter, earning ovations even before the final applause. Her performance is concise and not excessively wild, without resorting to cheap crowd-pleasing tricks: she doses the grimaces and peculiarities of intonation and gesture exactly. Her fraudulent clairvoyant is funny and yet retains a human trueness to life.

The musical Ghost is, of course, the work of the whole ensemble. Energetic group performances spread an infectious vibe through movement and via Hana Kratochvilová´s functional and inventive choreography. Also, Robert Jícha´s performance in the role of the villain Carl, and Igor Ondříček’s portrayal of the hefty and entertaining ghost in the underground both deserve praise.

Acting tricks in combination with illusions and technical effects end up blending into one great helping of pleasant entertainment which, apart from the emotional input for sensitive characters, offers great spiritual relaxation for the thicker-skinned ones and entertainment for all without distinction. Magic is performed via theatre tricks, excellent lighting, good music and mainly the performances of all the actors. The slightly overbearing message of the musical regarding the almighty power of pure love doesn´t need further accentuation. Of course, strong emotion wins here, the villains are thrown into hell and the living onlookers discover that apart from the moving moments a lot of life-giving rather than soul-destroying fun can be had here. 

GHOST ADDED TRICKS AS WELL AS CORRUPTION ON WALL STREET

Luboš Mareček 23. October 2014 zdroj www.echo24.cz

Brno City Theatre has added another item to its portfolio of new musicals which have previously only been performed on English or American soil, producing the Czech premiere of the musical GHOST, an adaptation of the romantic film of the same name from 1990. The musical has already toured the world but, so far, only four European countries have seen it.

The stage version of GHOST was created three years ago in Manchester. Subsequently, the production travelled to London’s West End and later also appeared on Broadway. Musicals inspired by the celluloid art and direct theatrical transcripts of films are no novelty. Brno City Theatre likes to produce pieces which first became famous and successful with the public as films. Let´s name, for example, some of the works shown in the past three years: The Full Monty!, Mary Poppins, A Little Shop of Horrors and Flashdance.

Most of the musicals named above became blockbusters, and it will probably be no different in the case of GHOST. However, this performance chose different means and themes to its predecessors. Apart from the touching love story in which dead Sam must protect his living Molly, and only after will his soul find peace, it is also a thrilling story about corruption on Wall Street topped with witty spiritual fantasy elements. With the skilful scriptwriting (the libretto and song texts were created by the author of the film script Bruce Joel Rubin himself), the mixing of genres mentioned above, a lot of technical finesse, the poppy music and the crazy speed, a great slice of entertainment has been created in Brno that will appeal not only to romantically-inclined spectators.

Scenographer Christopher Weyers has created a two-level stage which easily changes into a large loft apartment for the loving couple, an underground train tunnel, the crazy black spiritualist’s salon or a mere suggestion of the furniture in a luxurious bankers’ office. The skilful projection work by Petr Hloušek and Dalibor Černák also contributes to the success of the performance, their projected video loops adding dynamism to the group scenes from the morning rush hour on New York’s Wall Street, or at other times depicting ghosts levitating in a transparent underground carriage. Add to this the laser effects which shape the tunnel into the afterlife or the final journey of Sam into heaven, or for example the levitating characters and objects floating in the air. Thanks to these elements, even spectators who may find the moving story of the central couple somewhat too bittersweet in places will find something to enjoy.

The musical GHOST manages to run the whole gamut of popular music with ease during the three hours. There are sugar candy duets but also fast numbers with a touch of jazz or swing, Negro gospels and even a bit of rap. The music to the production is provided by a live orchestra conducted by Dan Kalousek; as is traditional, it is quite an experience.

Svetlana Janotová has black hair just like Demi Moore does in the film, and Dušan Vitázek is similarly handsome and well built as Patrick Swayze in his role. However, their ability to perform the touching and tragic story soberly, pleasantly and without the expected musical sickliness is much more important than their slight resemblance to the Hollywood stars. Both are very experienced musical actors, which they demonstrate with their singing and acting during this show.

They even avoided lapsing into unconvincing sweetness with the central song of the musical (and also the film) and only well known hit of the evening, the famous Unchained Melody from way back in 1955. Elvis Presley made this delicate love song famous and Brno’s producers left it as the only song in the whole production to be sung in the original English.

The premiere of GHOST also featured another strong point. It was the performance of Zdena Herfortová in the role of crazy spiritualist Oda Mae, who is the only person able to channel communication between dead Sam and Molly. Herfortová makes the most of her role as the nutty black con-artist in a crazy costume with such verve that the audience explode with laughter, earning ovations even before the final applause. Her performance is concise and not excessively wild, without resorting to cheap crowd-pleasing tricks: she doses the grimaces and peculiarities of intonation and gesture exactly. Her fraudulent clairvoyant is funny and yet retains a human trueness to life.

The musical GHOST is, of course, the work of the whole ensemble. Energetic group performances spread an infectious vibe through movement and via Hana Kratochvilová´s functional and inventive choreography. Also, Robert Jícha´s performance in the role of the villain Carl, and Igor Ondříček’s portrayal of the hefty and entertaining ghost in the underground both deserve praise.

Theatrical stunts combined with illusions and technical effects end up blending into one great helping of pleasant entertainment which, apart from the emotional input for sensitive characters, offers great spiritual relaxation for the thicker-skinned ones and entertainment for all without distinction. Magic is performed via theatre tricks, excellent lighting, good music and mainly the performances of all the actors. The slightly overbearing message of the musical regarding the almighty power of pure love doesn´t need further accentuation. Of course, strong emotion wins here, the villains are thrown into hell and the living onlookers discover that aside from the moving moments, a lot of life-bringing rather than soul-destroying fun can be had here.

 

 

The musical Ghost entertains and impresses with a whirlwind of special effects

Suchá Lenka 20. October 2014 zdroj http://brnensky.denik.cz/kultura_region/muzikalovy-duch-pobavi-i-strhne-smrsti-efektu-20141020.html

Brno – The legendary Oscar-winning film Ghost from 1990, starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, was presented as a stage adaptation for the very first time in the Czech Republic on Saturday at Brno City Theatre. The romantic story about a love that was stronger than death was prepared by the Brno team under the direction of Stanislav Moša for a domestic premiere that comes three years after the world premiere, making the Czech Republic only the fourth country in Europe to show the piece. Brno City Theatre managed the demanding stage adaptation, full of set changes, rapid-fire scene changes and modern technical effects, absolutely perfectly.

The libretto for the musical Ghost was written by the author of the original film script, Bruce Joel Rubin, who created a faithful theatre adaptation which follows the events of the film scene by scene. From the very beginning, the viewer finds themselves watching a fluid story that skilfully combines spoken passages with songs, as well as dramatic and comic scenes.

Everything moves at great speed, cutting from one scene to another in an almost film-like manner. It isn’t unusual to see several changes in surroundings take place during the course of a single song. The very first twenty minutes of the musical don’t give the audience much chance to draw breath, and unfortunately at times due to the film-clip-like fragmentation of the action they don’t have the chance to feel fully involved in what is going on either.

This comes later, with the tragic death of the main hero of the piece, Sam. When the moment comes in which his spirit decides to remain on earth to find his murderer and explain his unjust death, things start getting interesting. It gradually becomes apparent that Sam’s death occurred at the hands of his best friend Carl, who also hopes to gain the love of Sam’s girlfriend, Molly. From this moment on, the spectator can fully begin to enjoy the thrilling detective story with moments of mystery and sometimes crazy comedy that this piece offers.

The story gains even more power once the batty charlatan medium Oda Mae gets involved, because only she can make contact possible between Sam and Molly. Veteran drama and musical actress Zdena Herfortová plays the black spiritualist with great enthusiasm, making the most of her well-written and witty scenes at an admirable tempo and with never-dwindling élan, earning several rounds of applause.

It is in the combined scenes with Herfortová that the leading actor in the double role of Sam and the ghost, Dušan Vitázek, is strongest (the use of the classic, never-ending children’s song Pes jitrničku sežral (The dog ate the liverwurst) is excellent here). Vitázek expresses his frustration and powerlessness at being unable to speak to the people he sees (who simply look through him, unaware of his presence) through his posture and gestures, with his body radiating tension and the desire to take action. Robert Jícha also enjoyed his first big musical opportunity for some time as the “bad guy” Carl.

As far as the music is concerned, it combines a varied mixture of styles from romantic duets (Vyznání), pop songs (Víc) and rock-style songs to swing-jazz melodies (Bludná duše), black gospel (Za vodou) and even rap numbers. The central melody of the musical is of course the hit from the film, Unchained Melody, which was originally written by Hy Zaret and Alex North back in 1955. The love song made famous by Elvis Presley and also ‘our’ Karel Gott was deliberately left as the only song to be sung in English by the producers of Brno’s Ghost.

The most significant aspect of the musical Ghost for the audience is the theatre version of the special effects used in the film. Brno’s spectators are quite ‘spoiled’ in this area as it’s one of Brno City Theatre’s specialties: past productions at the Music Theatre have featured people floating in the air (The Witches of Eastwick), tap-dancing upside-down (Mary Poppins) and dancing under a shower (Flashdance).

Christoph Weyers’ set utilizes various geometric forms that combine and cover each other to suggest the environments of Molly’s flat, Sam and Carl’s office, Oda Mae’s parlour or a bar. Meanings are reinforced in combination with projections, animations and special effects, making this one of the most technically-advanced productions in the history of Brno City Theatre.

The on-stage effects that spectators will witness include walking through walls and closed doors, levitating objects and people, the departure of the dead to heaven and the villains being dragged off to hell. Many of the tricks work on the basis of freely-admitted theatrical illusions, with great help from modern sound and lighting design, and in most cases using tried-and-tested black light theatre principles. As a whole this theatre magic has a compact feel and will also impress theatregoers thanks to the speed at which everything is thrown at them.

The musical Ghost will undoubtedly find its place in the repertoire of Brno City Theatre among hits such as Flashdance, Jekyll and Hyde, and The Full Monty. The combination of a strong story, pleasant melodies, superb acting performances and mainly the never-before-seen (on the domestic scene) concentration of special effects is so attractive to theatregoers that even before the premiere all reprises of Ghost had sold out up to the end of the year.

At the musical Ghost both the orchestra and the actors enchant

Luboš Mareček 20. October 2014 zdroj www.mestohudby.cz

Brno City Theatre has added another international musical to its repertoire. The name of the new production, which had its Czech premiere at the weekend, Ghost, will suggest to many people that it is a theatre adaptation of the American film of the same name from 1990 that was awarded two Oscars and starred Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. The musical adaptation of Ghost had its premiere in Manchester, UK three years ago, after which the show soon moved to London’s West End and later also to Broadway. It is interesting that this is only the fourth European country where the show has been staged.

The musical Ghost, a story of love from beyond the grave in which dead Sam protects his Molly so that his soul can then go to heaven, is not just a love story. The author of the theatre version, who also contributed to the film – i.e. scriptwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, has stuck to the original version.  He received an Oscar for the story, which skilfully combines a romance between two young white people with a thrilling detective plot featuring exemplary villains, and then crowns the lot with crazy comedy from a dotty black medium.

Ghost is in fact ideal subject matter for the musical ensemble from Lidická Street as they’ve got everything that this kind of musical requires, i.e. excellent soloists as well as a great choir and orchestra, and they also conjured up an impressive on-stage conception for the piece which allows special effects to be created with a quality comparable to those seen in the film. These included intangible bodies passing through solid ones, people jumping into the carriages of a moving underground train with the help of animation, and small coins being levitated. The theatre has once again has managed to bring the cards it keeps up its sleeve successfully and fully into play.

Let´s go through everything about the Brno theatre version, step by step. The director of the production, Stanislav Moša, has the experience to know that material like this most of all requires brisk pacing. Well, the prescribed number of forty-one scenes through which the environment keeps on changing speaks for itself. Moša´s production moves at a finely tuned tempo that never stumbles, and excels in two areas.  The bittersweet and complex romance of the main love story is skilfully blended with a show of technical brilliance that enchants the audience with spectacular lasers, the levitation of persons as well as objects, and also Petra Hloušek and Dalibor Černák´s light and scenery projections. The light direction and film clips are an experience in themselves.

However, Brno´s Ghost doesn´t just captivate spectators through a large amount of technical finesse - things are kept within the constraints of moderation, fortunately – the musical isn´t crushed by turning it into a purely visual show. The nimble music production by conductor Dan Kalousek also contributes to the resultant opulent experience. His baton doesn’t let the musicians or the spectators catch breath and he supports Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard´s pop musical standard with a good, swift tempo.

In the musical Ghost the only great hit is an old song from the 1950s, Unchained Melody, which has been released in tens of versions since its creation.  One of the most famous of these was sung by Elvis Presley in the 1970s, and those who remember the film will recognize it immediately from the very first tones. 

As I have already mentioned, one of the spectacular items in Moša´s production is the choral performances with excellent sound and also invigorating choreography by Hana Kratochvilová, in particular the street numbers on Wall Street. The Saturday premiere started with the somewhat bumpy performance of a duet between the two main protagonists, Svetlana Janotová and Dušan Vitázek; however, both of the leads avoided any inaccuracies or discrepancies in intonation and gradually pulled spectators fully into the story. Vitázek didn´t descend into a bittersweet interpretation of Sam, even though the higher positions of many of his songs and also the tenor part might make such a step slightly tempting. Janotová also avoided the possibly tearful and sentimental position of a grieving lover and managed to extract the dramatic and energetic essence from the role.

Even though the couple mentioned above sing and dance with great gusto, it must be admitted that they were almost overshadowed by the one-generation-older Zdena Herfortová as the black charlatan Oda Mae. It is no great exaggeration to say that it is Herfortová who is the heart and soul of the evening, utilizing all her experience to play her role as a fabulous and hilarious caricature. Her performance electrifies the spectators and makes them explode with laughter. Her unbelievable zeal, which never goes so far as to give one the obtrusive feeling that she’s trying too hard, also functions here also as a great counterweight to this somewhat tearful story of love which remains unthwarted even by death. Robert Jícha also deserves praise for his enigmatic singing and textbook acting as the disgusting villain Carl. 

Andrea Kučerová´s costumes are certainly worth mentioning. She has dressed her ghosts in clothes which change from black to grey, showing their status as beings which have not yet completed their post-mortem journey to the afterlife. The costume designer also did great work on the ethnic dress of the black psychic, even though her pink ladies suit and hat clearly reveals the film as a source of inspiration. Christopher Weyers´ set enables functional and rapid changes, making use of sliding platforms and enabling the realization of the director’s vision as far as the speed of this three-hour-long piece is concerned.

Moša´s Ghost is an example of a musical production which is well executed in all departments. In other words: there is no erratic wandering between the performances of the main stars and group choreographies – even the smallest scene is executed with military precision. The production is a display of brisk entertainment which will be enjoyed by lovers of romance as well as fans of modern musical theatre.

After Dead Souls, Ghost

Jaroslav Štěpaník 20. October 2014 zdroj www.brnozurnal.cz

Brno City theatre has successfully placed its bets on a “beyond-the-grave theme”. First, it was Dead Souls, a great production by Hana Burešová, and after this drama Ghost arrived (also successfully) at the Music Theatre (premiere on 18.10.) The cult film (as it is called today) of 1990 was made according to a classic Hollywood recipe. Its skilful combination of several genres added to the attractiveness of the piece and prevented the creation of a melodrama or sentimental tear-jerker. Despite this, when the film appeared in cinemas, spectators are said to have come equipped with a rather large amount of tissues. In Mexico, before the projection of director Jerry Zucker’s film, female visitors received a set of paper tissues in front of the cinema. There sometimes weren’t enough.

Sam and Molly’s love story is interrupted by Sam’s mysterious murder, and suddenly we have a detective story on our hands. Sam finds himself in the after-life but keeps in contact with our world for the time being until he can take his revenge and protect his love. So, fantasy… and then comes the needed comic relief. This is provided by the peculiar character of a fraudulent fortune teller who is transformed against her will from a charlatan into a real medium. (The film actress Whoopi Goldberg got an Oscar for the role, and scriptwriter Bruce Joel Rubin received the same award for the precisely balanced mixture of genres which makes the story so attractive for spectators). It wouldn’t be what it is without a happy end, though this is one which is somewhat different from the standard variety. Sam the ghost leaves our world and his beloved Molly for good, but she knows (and so does he) that love is eternal and they will meet again in the end, where he is waiting for her. So, it’s a fairy tale, and a nice one - and who doesn’t like to see such a thing, at least sometimes, and perhaps also shed a tear or two?  

The plot is as if created for a musical and it seems surprising that the author of the film script waited for such a long time. He started working on it in cooperation with two professional musicians: British pop musician David A. Stewart and American song writer and producer Glen Ballard. After a successful premiere in Manchester (2011), Ghost moved to London’s West End, and then to Broadway in 2012; other cities of the world followed.  

The Brno production really is a good one and it will probably turn out to be a “blockbuster”. The musical, which copies the plot of the film version, gains added emotion thanks to its excellent music, which is in addition performed here by a “live orchestra” (musical production and direction by Dan Kalousek, Ema Mikešková). The story, which is based on communication between two worlds, is skilfully supported by modern theatre technology. The spectators are presented with a show which utilizes many technical tricks and special effects (the part of the story which takes place in the underground and in the train carriage is great and very impressive). The pace of the story is fast, with the individual scenes reminiscent of short film clips. The requisite choral dancing and singing numbers fit in organically and don´t slow the action down. The sentimentality of the story is balanced out with humour, just as in the film. The charlatan clairvoyant is played excellently by Brno theatre legend Zdena Herfortová. She is an unrestrained and powerful presence on stage, and she received feedback of a similar nature from the audience. Her singing was also spot-on, and she was rewarded with the greatest applause of the premiere. The titular ghost, Dušan Vitázek, put in an impressive, manly acting and singing performance, and he was also successful with his version of the famous Unchained Melody, the leading musical piece in both the film and the musical, where with the necessary guitar and swagger he imitates the immortal Elvis (who surely must be in the world of good ghosts these days). Svetlana Janotová (Molly) managed her part with grace; her delivery of the lyrical passages is most touching in places. The ghosts in supporting roles are also excellent - the hospital one (Jakub Zedníček) with his singing and feeling for dance expression, as well as the one from the underground (Igor Ondříček) with his threatening anger and almost demonic moroseness. We don´t love negative characters even in fairy tales; however, Robert Jícha was convincing in the role of Sam’s treacherous friend Carl (there are alternate actors for all roles).

    The set (Christoph Weyers), scenic projections (Petr Hloušek, Dalibor Černák), light direction (David Kachlíř) and sound direction (Milan Vorlíček) all have an important role in the production, as (of course) does the choreography (Hana Kratochvilová) and costume design (Andrea Kučerová).

     The author of the translation of the play is Jiří Josek. The dramaturge is Klára Latzková.

     The musical, which mixes genres skilfully – making what is, in fact, a very nice fairy-tale – was prepared and performed as a Czech premiere by the ensemble of the Music Theatre under the direction of Stanislav Moša.

THERE IS NOTHING TO CRITICIZE ABOUT BRNO CITY THEATRE’S GHOST

Pavla Haluzová 19. October 2014 zdroj www.informuji.cz

The musical version of the story maintains the plot of the film and successfully intertwines romantic and dramatic scenes with comic ones. The whole production is based on the use of light and sound effects which enable the supernatural world to be depicted through their perfect synchronization with the plot on the stage. The scenes where Sam´s ghost passes through objects, tries to touch Molly or enters Oda Mae’s body were believable and, thanks to the perfect timing of all the elements involved, could compete with the special effects seen in modern movies. The climax was the fight between Sam´s ghost and Carl, where the most dramatic scene of the whole piece was created through a combination of effects and projections.

Data projections were used very inventively during the set changes, when the audience watched the completion of the previous scene on canvas before it was then smoothly followed by the next scene. The producers created e.g. the underground train ride in a similarly remarkable manner via projections.

Both of the actors in the main roles – Svetlana Janotová and Dušan Vitázek – dominated the excellent cast. Their singing and acting were perfect. Both of them did a good job of being carefree and in love in the first part while their performance in the sad scenes in the second part certainly brought tears to the eyes of many spectators.

The actors in the secondary roles, dominated by Zdena Herfortová in the role of crazy Oda Mae (the main source of comic situations in the musical) and Robert Jícha as the treacherous Carl, were equally good. Also, the excellent actors in the roles of murderer Willie and the Ghost in the underground - Jakub Zedníček and Igor Ondříček – deserve a mention.

And finally, the remarkable and demanding choreography by Hana Kratochvilová needs to be praised - the dancers performed perfectly and with exact coordination.

Just as the production team managed by director Stanislav Moša promised, GHOST is an original and powerful experience for every spectator.

 

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