Prepare for a Scare: “Ghost Story,” the Grades 9/10 Play Debuts

Looking for something spooky to get you in the mood for Halloween? On Friday, October 30 at 7:00 PM, Poly Prep’s Grades 9 & 10 actors will present a virtual performance of Ghost Story, which consists of six original plays commissioned by Poly.

In her Director’s Notes, Cynthia Babak said, “When it became clear that Poly was going to go forward with creating plays in whatever way possible, my task as director became finding a project that might contain the feelings and events of these times, while also offering an escape from them, which I felt we all—our young actors especially—deserved.”

Ghost Story play key art

Head of Arts Michael Robinson suggested commissioning short plays, which resulted in the six plays to be performed with the common theme of Ghost Story. “You’ll see that within that theme, the style and tone of each play are wildly different,” said Babak. “I could not be more pleased with the plays you’ll see tonight, and I thank our playwrights, Camilo Almonacid, Monica Flory, Miranda Rose Hall, Nylda Mark, and Elizabeth Wong, for rising to the challenge!”

(L-R) Camilo Almonacid, Monica Flory, Miranda Rose Hall, Nylda Mark, Elizabeth Wong

Monica Flory, former Poly Middle School drama teacher, has written two of the plays, Little Rose, which includes an Emily Dickinson character, and SilenceHollywood Confessions of Supernatural Entities by Camilo Almonacid, features four “interviewers” including one called The Singing Forest. Very intriguing. The Witching Hour, a play by Nylda Mark, has two main characters, a protester and an officer. Elizabeth Wong’s 111 MacDougal conjures up thoughts of a Greenwich Village atmosphere. And, what could be the mystery waiting for attendees in What Happened in Apartment 1B by Miranda Rose Hall.

Lulu McDonald ’24

Lulu McDonald ’24, who is playing Emily Dickinson in Little Rose, said, “The short play I am in is spoken predominantly through poetry, which was challenging. I had to find a way to make it sound natural, which was something I had never done before. I really enjoyed the drama and intensity of this part, and also being able to explore a different style.”

Jasmine Grant-Phillips '21
Jasmine Grant-Phillips ’24

“It was challenging to act in the shoes of my character at home instead of being on a stage,” said Jasmine Grant-Phillips ’24. “It was more difficult to stay in character in the setting of my room and not something that resembled where the play is taking place.” She added, “I enjoyed getting to play the part of a child ghostbuster with a comedy twist!”

Head of Arts Michael Robinson and Director Cynthia Babak

Babak also wants to thank the production crew that made Ghost Story possible. “I feel very lucky,” she said, “to be working with our new designers, who are so quickly and creatively adapting to this new way of doing theater, Hannah Chalman (costume design) and Andrew Murdock (set design, and videography), under the supervision of my longtime collaborator, David Higham (tech director and sound design).” Performing Arts Department Chair Daniel Doughty added, “We want to commend and congratulate director Cynthia Babak, our designers, and the cast and crew of Ghost Story for their creativity, tenacity, and bravery as they commence the 2020–21 Performing Arts production season amid so many unknowns; they have created inspiring art in challenging circumstances, and, in the process, shown the rest of us what is possible.”

Ghost Story costume design

We hope to see you at the show. Enjoy the video of Ghost Story performance.