Feature

Ghost Light

The main character in Ghost Light, a director staging Hamlet, is an alter ego for Jonathan Moscone, one of the play's co-writers and the son of former San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Ashland, Ore.(541) 482-4331

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This play’s co-writer, Jonathan Moscone, lost his father “in one of the nation’s most sensational assassinations,” said Bill Varble in the Medford, Ore., Mail Tribune. Jonathan was 14 when a disgruntled former official shot San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city Supervisor Harvey Milk on the same day, with the ironic result that the city’s top official has become a footnote in the more celebrated life story of the famed gay politician. Yet the younger Moscone is less interested in creating a portrait of his father than in exploring “that human common denominator, loss.” Jon, his alter ego in the play, is a director staging a production of Hamlet while still haunted by the memory of the killing. He’s also as paralyzed by indecision as Shakespeare’s Danish prince. The parallel creates a drama that’s “as contemporary as postmodernism” and “as intuitive as a lyrical poem.”

The “universal power of the tale is undeniable,” said Karen D’Souza in the San Jose Mercury News. Moscone and co-writer Tony Taccone have crafted “a richly idiosyncratic portrait of Jon,” played by Christopher Liam Moore in an “exquisite turn.” A man who’s “fearful about confronting his demons in life,” Jon is nevertheless determined to use theater as his catharsis, even as a host of demons haunt his dreams. The keenest of the play’s revelations, unfortunately, are packed into the first act, so “there’s nowhere to go in the second.” Still, the creators have melded “the intimate and the epic with riveting results.”

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