Department of Performing and Visual Arts Theatre and Pioneer Players open fall season with Henrik Ibsen’s family drama ‘Ghosts’

October 21, 2013
costume rendering

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts Theatre and Pioneer Players open their fall season with Henrik Ibsen’s family drama, “Ghosts,” which runs from Wednesday, Oct. 23 until Sunday, Oct. 27 in the Center for the Arts Theatre.

For a fourth season, the UW-Platteville theatre program continues its special Benefit Wednesday performances with a showing of “Ghosts” on Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. The ticket cost is $3, and all proceeds directly benefit the Platteville Food Pantry and Platteville Fire Department. Last year’s benefit performances raised $1,200 for the Food Pantry and EMS. Evening performances continue Thursday, Oct. 24 through Saturday, Oct. 26. Matinee performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27 at 2 p.m.

In 1881, Ibsen shocked the literary and theatrical worlds with his publication of “Ghosts.” The play was so controversial at the time that it was initially banned in Norway and didn’t receive its English premiere until 1891. Ahead of his time, Ibsen was not afraid to confront issues of heredity, religious and social hypocrisy and venereal disease on the stage.

The story focuses on Mrs. Alving, the play’s central character and tragic heroine, who has followed her pastor’s advice and silently accepted her husband’s infidelities for a long time. Ten years after her husband’s death, her son Oswald returns home for the dedication of an orphanage in his father’s memory. Oswald becomes infatuated with his mother’s housemaid, who unknown to him is his half-sister, which conjures up ghosts of an unhappy marriage for Mrs. Alving. Although she loves her son unconditionally, Mrs. Alving’s guilt feeds Oswald’s innocence and propels the play to its inevitable, tragic conclusion.

Dr. David Schuler, associate professor of theatre at UW-Platteville and director of the production, suggests that “Helen yearns for emotional and sexual freedom but is too timid to achieve it; she’s a rebel who fears rebellion, a scourge who longs for approbation and love. Indeed, ‘the sins of the father are visited upon the son.’”

Cast members include UW-Platteville theatre veterans Emily Cushing of Highland Park, Ill., as Mrs. Alving and John O’Sullivan IV of Stewartville, Minn., as Oswald; and newcomers Paul Krombos of Markesan, Wis., as Jakkob Engstrand; Grant Sklenar of Prairie du Chien, Wis., as Pastor Manders; and Emma Wilson of Platteville, as Regina Engstrand.

Other UW-Platteville students involved in the production are Amanda Nerby of Ettrick, Wis., as stage manager; Danny McMullen of Rockford, Ill., as lighting designer; and Lucas Pawelski of Stevens Point, Wis., as sound designer. Theatre faculty Jeffrey and Sarah Strange are the scenic and costume/mask designers, respectively, for the production.

“In many ways, Ibsen’s themes of adultery, incest, moral hypocrisy and STDs are even more profoundly relevant to our modern society,” said Schuler. “This powerful, engrossing psychological drama reaffirms Ibsen’s status as ‘the father of modern drama.’”

For more information, contact the University Box Office at (608) 342-1298 or

Contact: Dr. David Schuler, associate professor, UW-Platteville Department of Performing and Visual Arts, (608) 342-1198,

Formatted by: Laurie A. Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191,


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Dr. David Schuler interview Ghosts

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