The Ghostlight is a delightful and loving theatrical tradition. Its practical application is safety. A bare light bulb is left burning in the theatre at all times. This helps prevent someone who is fumbling for a light switch from tripping over the massive amount of clutter that can accumulate backstage, onstage and in the wings of a theatre. It also allows the lip of the stage to be visible - you do not want to go poking around in the dark and fall off the stage. Who knows what you would break; an ankle, a leg (hmmm... break a leg), or even your neck.
There is also a more supernatural application. It is said that a candle was kept burning in Elizabethan theatres to ward away the ghosts of previous performances. Theatres are odd places. They are home to a large amount of emotional energy. Both the performer and the audience must be open to this and sometimes a feeling will linger.
Theatres are often haunted. Why not? They are large, often dark and shadowy, and have many great places to hide. There are strange objects left over from past performances that tend to play tricks on the mind.
Many a long and lonely hour is spent in the theatre preparing for a production; often late into the night. It is no wonder when drowsiness sets in that these spirits would play upon the mind. Talk to anyone who has been alone in a theatre late into the evening hours and they will probably have a story to tell you of a visitor they may or may not have had. Feel free to share some with us today.
Happy Birthday Frederico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)