Different Ghosts

live scripted performance | 1987

Duration approximately 80 minutes

A woman dressed in a leather apron and a course skirt disrupts the action. She ignores the other performers and pushes a table covered in shoemaking paraphernalia onto the stage. The others watch as she sits on a stool and stretches leather over a shoe-last while singing quietly to herself. The six performers are dressed in period costume. A ‘Georgian’ couple disturbs a ‘Victorian’ couple in a game where the performers can see into the past but not the future. Although the Victorians get in the way of the Georgians they pretend that they are not there. The Victorians however acknowledge the presence of the Georgians but do not directly communicate with them. The performers have their own associated period furniture, which they bring on with them as part of the action. They jostle to occupy the same space as the competing historical periods collide and overlay one another.

Performed by Heather Ackroyd, Brian Lipson, Miranda Paine, Jan Pearson, Joe Staines and Gary Stevens.

Designed in collaboration with Cornelia Parker.

Lighting Design and assistance: Beth Hardisty

Previous performances
  • ICA Theatre, LONDON, 1988
  • Traverse Theatre, EDINBURGH
  • Powerhouse, Trent Polytechnic,¬†NOTTINGHAM
  • Chapter Arts Centre, CARDIFF
  • South Hill Park Arts Centre, BRACKNELL
  • Pegasus Theatre, OXFORD
  • Green Rooms, MANCHESTER
  • Brewery Arts Centre, KENDAL

“intoxicating originality… visually inspired theatre that can challenge the mind as powerfully as the eye. Spun through all this are luminous reflections on memory, how objects change their meaning, the slipperiness of perception… But what needs stressing is the intellectual slapstick, the sheer fun of this show.”¬†
The Listener

“a unique and thoroughly enjoyable show with a wicked sense of fun that… is like a breath of fresh air.'”¬†
The Guardian

“a table being laid for supper becomes a human chain of cutlery which in turn metamorphoses into dinky toys and model houses; when one attempts to create an object out of misfitting pieces the others all join in, creating further chaos, and end by stamping the pieces to smithereens as if they were deadly insects rather than inanimate objects… Different Ghosts is like a detective story… for all its droll humour and theatrical jokes Stevens’s piece is, like Ibsen’s Ghosts always hovering on the edge of tragedy and poetic symbolism.”