comScore

Bob Suh

Recommended

The Canterville Ghost

Every Fri. and Sat. from March 16-April 7
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from March 18-April 8
2 p.m.
$22
Theater

Haunted-house yarns have long followed a pattern: An unwary family moves into a cursed abode only to suffer a series of supernatural incidents until the malevolent spirits are banished or the traumatized homeowners take flight. Never an artist to be constrained by convention, the witty Oscar Wilde subverted those expectations with one of his earliest novellas, The Canterville Ghost. Opening at Theatre in the Round Players in an adaptation by Marsha Chamberlain, Wilde’s insightfully humorous play tells the story of an American family moving into Canterville Chase, a notorious mansion in rural England. Legend has it that the spirit of the original inhabitant, Sir Simon Canterville, has been haunting the manor for hundreds of years. Instead of being dissauded, the enthused new owners actually welcome every eerie encounter with the resident phantom, causing the vexed ghost to grow increasingly exasperated with his failure to terrify. This twisting of genre standards works to upend expectations, giving Wilde license to poke fun at ghost-story conventions even while engaging in their frightful pleasures.