For the first time in my experience of his work, Conor McPherson has actually written a play, and not an excuse for the recitation of past-tense narratives. It has flaws: It could stand a good deal more editing, and a lot less of its characters' repetitious pussyfooting around what they mean. But just as the rather slight action was winding down to its somewhat hasty conclusion, while I was tucking my notes in my pocket, meaning to go home and write how pleased I was that McPherson had at last begun to understand what drama means, why—the curtain fell, on a trick ending so glib, arbitrary, and pointless that it reduces the play to a cheap and not very scary ghost story. Countless writers over the past two centuries have used ghosts to inject an element of transcendence into their work, a hint of something beyond literal expression; many more have taken ghosts and other supernatural beings literally, using them to construct stories that scare and thrill you in a genuinely disturbing way. There's no shame in the latter mode, especially not in the theater. Some of Shakespeare's best characters are ghosts; Tennessee Williams began his literary career as... More >>>