'Oh, Whistle and We'll Come' to Mercyhurst Theatre's Ghostly Production
Friday, November 16 - 18
Erie is positively rife with ghost stories, and even on the hottest day of the year it's not difficult to feel the chill of the past if you're standing in the right place. So it seems fitting that playwright Mary Barile — who was commissioned by Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture director Brett Johnson, Ph.D., to adapt "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad" for the Mercyhurst Theatre Program — found our lakeshore to be fertile ground for the imagination.
Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad: An Erie Ghost Story is based on a short ghost story by Victorian writer M. R. James, "a Medievalist, scholar, teacher, head of Eton College and King's College and the creator of the modern ghost story," Barile explained. "…I think [James] would have enjoyed Erie, PA, which was a summer seaside resort, much like Felixstowe, in Suffolk, England where the original story was set."
Oh, Whistle still takes place at the start of the 20th century, though its plot now follows a trio of resort-goers who find their skeptical attitudes toward the supernatural challenged after finding a whistle on the shore. Barile retains James's humor and irony, tricky devices to employ in a tale of the supernatural, but effective at convincing the audience to let their guards down.
Even more impressive, those clichéd, grotesque trappings of horror that we often see portrayed in movies is brushed aside here. "James used the mundane, like a book, or a piece of wallpaper, and made it terrifying by proving that some people do not believe in ghosts — until they do," Barile said.
The seven-person cast of Oh, Whistle, featuring Monica Tinsley, Owen Hitt and Grace Sloop, is under the direction of MU '17 graduate Bethany Sulecki.
Whether you're a firm skeptic or a convinced believer, Oh, Whistle takes the supernatural and makes it personal for all of us here in the summer lakeside resort of Erie, PA. — Cara Suppa
7:30 p.m. and 11:55 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2:00 p.m. Sunday // Taylor Little Theater, 501 E 38th St // Adults $10, Seniors $7, Students/Youth $5 // miac.mercyhurst.edu