The Ghosts of Rowan Oak
(writing sample) (return to plays)
Book by Michèle Raper Rittenhouse
Music by Robert Felstein
Lyrics by Michèle Raper Rittenhouse & Robert Felstein
Adapted from The Ghosts of Rowan Oak
William Faulkner’s Ghost Stories for Children
Recounted by Dean Faulkner Wells
Other music from traditional American ballads and folksongs.
First produced in a workshop through the Rutgers-NJIT Theatre Arts Program in conjunction with the Jim Wise Gift Foundation for musical Theatre.
March 1-5, 2006
New Jersey Institute of Technology Campus
Director: Bill Gile
Set Designer: Dan Drew
Sound Designer: Eric Johnson
Light Technician: Raymond Gintner IV
Production was dedicated to Dr. John (Pat) Pattinson, former chair of the NCE/NJIT Humanities Department.
A group of performers are rehearsing and filming some of children ghost stories for a next day’s Faulkner Festival. These performers inadvertently evoke the spirit of the ghosts that haunt Rowan Oak, William Faulkner's home, and get trapped into reliving the Civil War love story that ends with a tragic death. If they don't change the ending before the hour of the wolf, the darkness before dawn, none of them may live to see the next day.
KATE – Actress/playwright. Theatre graduate student. Early to Mid 20’s.
RICHARD – Director/actor/law student. Early to Mid 20’s. (From N.J.)
JUDITH Actress. Undergraduate freshman at Ole Miss. Late teens. (From NYC)
JOHN (MICHAEL) Actor, undergraduate senior at Ole Miss. Early 20’s.
SAM Caretaker/grounds keeper of estate. Ageless.
EXTENDED CAST BREAKDOWN: [Note: can be performed with just five principals and two ensemble actors (7). Extended casting is an alternative for schools and larger venues.]
Time and Setting:
Early evening into dawn. Spring. Present time.
Front yard of William Faulkner's estate, Rowan Oak in Oxford, Mississippi. Present.
Two ways to approach the set:
In a simple form, just a bare stage with a ladder, four lightweight chairs, one cane rocking chair, large picture frame (human size) with mylar backing that rolls down, small table, three large trunks with costumes and props, (and optional, a cd player/tape recorder).
In a more elaborate situation; more set pieces can be added as needed. More sophisticated lighting; gobos, mirror ball, strobe. A cyc and scrim, magnolia and cedar trees and eventually a projection of Rowan Oak itself.
ACTING ENSEMBLE (3 men, 2 women) optional
2 PBS TECHIES (1 optional, 1 woman)
All cast become characters in ‘ghost-land.’
The Ghosts of Rowan Oak
An American Idol
Chanel/Rose, Tamala/Amanda, John, Anthony
The Ghosts of Rowan Oak (reprise)
Finale One: (When Johnny Comes Marching Home, traditional)
Sweet Katherine O’Connelly McGraw
True Lover’s Farewell (traditional)
The Secrets of My Heart
How Old Are You, My Pretty Little Miss
She is Just a Little Girl
The Firefly Ball
He Will Come
I'm A Good Old Rebel (traditional)
I Call To You
The Secrets of My Heart (reprise)
An American Idol (reprise)
Yoknapatawpha County (reprise)