Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 18, 2018

REVIEW: Suffield Players, Ghost of a Chance

Suffield Players, Suffield, CT
through October 27, 2018
by Mary Kate Sylvia

The first thing the audience will notice as they walk into historic Mapleton Hall is a cabaret setting. Tables are set up with electric candles flickering in the center of each. After taking in the actual theater, it’s quick to note that set designer David Crowell’s staging is extraordinaire. The decor looks like a man cave mixed with a hunting lodge, which is just what the setting of this play calls for. From the little details, like the shoe rack stacked with various types of boots, to the large ones, like the exposed beams on the ceiling and the fireplace and chimney on stage left, the set pulls the audience in and prepares them for the show to come.

The play itself is interesting and attempts to fit quite a lot of commentary into its plot. It touches on life, death, dying, love, loss, relationships, and of course attempted murder. (Not one but two instances!) A major plot point is its seamless inversion of character traits. Each character changes immensely through the course of the play. Big, burly, and loveable mountain man Chance is not the same character at the show’s end. His constant romantic pursuit of Bethany has a more malicious tone at the end of the show than the audience might imagine at the beginning. Each character goes through a similarly unlikely change by the conclusion of “Ghost of a Chance”. The play is so immersive that the audience almost wonders what happens to these characters’ personalities even though they have been subtly changing the whole time.

 Save for a few opening night jitters, the cast performed very well. Each actor took his/her role wholeheartedly and acted without fear.  The stand out players were Barbara Gallow who portrays overbearing mother-in-law to be, Verna; and Mark Popovitch who plays her dweeby, good-natured son, Floyd. Gallow’s straight-faced delivery wins the audience over in the first scene. These two have fantastic onstage chemistry. They perfectly embody the comedic codependency trope and deserve every ounce of this praise for their hilarious portrayals.

All in all, “Ghost of a Chance” offers two distinctive ways of viewing. First, it is at its heart, a comedy filled with everything a comedy should have; romance, jokes, vacuuming up a dead husband. Second, this show can be looked at on a deeper level. It touches on many difficult issues and presents ways to cope. There is no need to be into edgy drama to enjoy this show, but “Ghost of a Chance” and Suffield Players offer a thought-provoking play which can invite further discussion