by Oscar Wilde
directed by Paul Stebbings
In autumn 2015 we revive one of the company’s most popular productions for a tour of over twenty countries in Europe and Asia. THE CANTERVILLE GHOST is an enigmatic masterpiece from one of the greatest story-tellers ever to set pen to paper: Oscar Wilde. Being Wilde, this is a piece of razor sharp wit, vicious satire and imagery that is both Gothic and lyrical. TNT bring out the full complexity of the story, a story that is wrongly labelled as solely for the young. And of course we update the satire as Wilde was nothing if not contemporary (he seldom sets his work in the past).
The story is set in an English castle whose aristocratic owner, Lord Canterville, has put it up for sale as he is as broke as he is noble. The resident crows object to this as strongly as the resident Ghost (the wife murderer Sir Simon de Canterville). A brash and wealthy American family arrives to take possession of the castle: a cowgirl Mom, a seemingly sweet daughter Virginia and her vile brother Washington. The Ghost does all he can to frighten the Americans away, but in the end it is the Duke who turns the tables by falling in love with Virginia. But first Virginia must learn a lesson or two from Sir Simon – if she is to have a Ghost of a chance….
"You have a secret," the Duke answered, smiling. "You have never told me what happened to you when you were locked away with the ghost."
"I have never told anyone, Cecil," said Virginia gravely.
"I know but you might tell me."
"Please don´t ask me....."
"You can have your secret as long as I have your heart," he murmured.
"You will always have that, Cecil."
"And you will tell our children some day, won´t you?"
To dramatise the story is to deal with the Duke´s question to his wife: what happened to Virginia when she is locked away with the ghost? This is rather rough and ambiguous finale to a fairy tale and it reflects on Wilde´s own tortured desire to tell the truth despite his dazzling skill at hiding that truth. The charming fairy story comes to an abrupt halt, there is no moral judgement because although the story ends with a blush we do not feel it is a blush of shame. Virginia is clearly wiser and more knowing than the Duke, and she gains that knowledge from her encounter with the ghost. Wilde leaves the reader with an enigma but he was playing a dangerous game; his hidden themes, like his hidden life, would be revealed. Unlike DORIAN GRAY, Oscar Wilde was not able to keep his true self on a canvass in an attic.
Despite its contradictions and evasions, THE CANTERVILLE GHOST is still a fairy story, which is not the same thing as a children´s tale. It is a mark of Wilde´s skill that he is able to write a modern fairy story that is as macabre and complex as anything by the brothers Grimm or Hans Anderson. We have tried to do justice to his skill and bring the story´s themes alive for a contemporary audience.
TNT’s version has delighted audiences since 1997, from Shanghai to London and from Munich to Tokyo. The combination of dynamic physical theatre, dance, comedy, masks, satire, audience participation and startling imagery grips young and old alike. The whole is complimented by Paul Flush’s musical score and a host of foot tapping songs plus a ballad or two to mix laughter with tears (or at least Romance).
TNT theatre and ADG Europe invite you to a magical theatrical performance in the company of yanks, ghosts, lovers, murderers, Lords, gypsies, horrible stains and the bad tempered dancing crows of Canterville.
“TNT – a theatrical firework”. Berliner Morgenpost
“TNT-touring theatre at its best” South China Morning Post.
“If young people need to be persuaded to go to the theatre this is the company to see” Sudkurier , Germany.
“TNT present true music theatre” Classical Music Magazine, London
|1. act 45 min
interval 15 min
2. act 40 min
|Ma Otis||Rosie Strobel|
|Virginia Otis||Claire Gaydon|
|Washington Otis and Ghost||Sam Wright|
|The Duke of Canterville||Dan Wilder|
|other roles played by the ensemble|