a ghost opera
in three acts
Libretto read at The Playwrights Realm, February 2018.
Mitch is so relieved! He decided to take an early retirement from Highland Insurance, where he toiled for years as the head of the claims department. He’s so close to taking out that sail boat with his wife Jude and going on the vacation they’ve dreamt about for years.
But at his retirement party he’s confronted by his worst fears when a ghost named Raymond appears. He killed himself a decade ago when Mitch wrongly denied a claim he filed when his house was damaged by a hurricane*. Cursed with the ability to see the consequences of his actions, Mitch pieces together the tragedy that befell Raymond and his wife in a series of visions that transport him away from the party and back again. Confronted with his increasingly erratic behavior, his wife Jude and daughter Lulu worry about his sanity while his colleagues worry that he might publicly confess the company’s scheme to defraud customers.
Mitch finally comes up with an act of penance he thinks could rebalance the world – for now – only to be stopped by his daughter and colleagues for different reasons. In the end the curse of having sight is not just recognizing what you’ve done, it’s recognizing that it can be hard or impossible to make amends, especially when the community benefits from the status quo. The result can be a kind of purgatory for the living and the dead, who wander the world struggling to carry their secret burdens with them without the courage to confess or a way to make things right.
* The characters and story in this opera are fictitious. The underlying issue regarding insurance malfeasance is not. It’s based on repor how the insurance industry defrauded customers after Hurricane Sandy.
Want more information or a copy of the libretto? Contact me.