Dane Figuero Edidi’s play “Ghost/Writer” was meant to have its premiere in Columbia on Rep Stage’s stage in February. As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic prevented that from happening, the play will instead have its premiere Thursday in a totally new format.
“It is a radio play version of the stage production,” Edidi said. “It was not too, too difficult to change. It helped me discover something about the storytelling of the piece that I will now bring to the stage version of it.”
Set in two different time periods, the first half takes place in the 1920s and revolves around an Irish immigrant who hires a Black woman from Baltimore to help exorcise ghosts. The second half, which takes place in 2019, tells the story of Charles Ross, a writer who hires a ghost writer to help him through writer’s block.
“Originally ... I was thinking about the ghosts of this country, the history of this country and how it is really important … to deal with and confront the white supremacy and the colonization, etc.,” Edidi said. “You can’t write a play that takes place in those time periods and not deal with Black people having to deal with white supremacy.”
Edidi, a Black transgender woman born and raised in Baltimore, is also one of the two actors in the play. The most difficult part of the rehearsals, Edidi said, was dealing with current events.
“Dealing with this play, we’re hearing about police killing Black people and Black and brown trans women being murdered,” Edidi said. “That was difficult. Realistically, I think, yes, this country has come a long way and also that police are still being violent to Black and brown people. The U.S. continues to … really grapple with its history, with its actions.”
“ ‘Ghost/Writer’ comes to us in a moment of deep civil unrest in this country with a call for justice that can no longer be ignored,” said Joseph Ritsch, producing artistic director, in a statement. “What I think ‘Ghost/Writer’ does so brilliantly is it asks us to look at our history — the real history — and not look away.”
Edidi is not disappointed at all that her play is premiering in a radio play format. She does hope to see it produced onstage in the future.
“This play is timeless,” Edidi said. “It is exciting to have theaters wanting to produce my work.”