Arts & Culture » Culture

The Canterville Ghost

Sunday, Oct. 20

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Through the din of rattling chains, creaking doors and the shuffling of undead feet, it can be easy to forget that ghosts can also be held responsible for little nuisances like misplacing car keys, leaving half a sandwich-worth of peanut butter at the bottom of the jar and the last three squares of toilet paper hanging dismally from the roll. Ghosts aren't just scary: They're pests to be driven out so we can live our lives in peace.

That's the opinion of the sensible, definitely-not-superstitious Otis family. For the cantankerous but mostly harmless Canterville Ghost, a tricentarian wraith that remains attached to an English country house where the American Otises are staying, the guests' unflappability--their sheer imperviousness to classic scare tactics executed with professional ghoulishness--is a point of intense consternation.

This hoary shade and his misadventures in trying to frighten the Otis family are the subject of The Canterville Ghost, a children's play based on the short story by renowned 19th century wit Oscar Wilde, which takes the Morrison Center Recital Hall stage as part of the Family Reading Series at Boise State.

The ghost does finally find peace with the help of one of the Otis children, but it's a story of courage, belief and redemption adapted for the stage (and for children), but with plenty of sly humor to make adults chuckle, too.