Charlie is a theatre major at college. The theatre is his safe space,
Did you know that the Palace, which by the way is reputed to have more ghosts than any other Broadway theatre, has a child ghost who plays peekaboo in the mezzanine, a musician dressed in white who appears in the orchestra pit, AND a tight-rope walker whose appearance is supposed to foretell a viewer’s death. [...] At the Eugene O’Neill, there is sometimes a strong scent of lilacs downstage left. [...] And The New Amsterdam. Well, it’s haunt…uh, inhabited by the spirit of a chorus girl named Olive Thomas. [...] Olive danced in the Ziegfeld Follies on the New Amsterdam mainstage in the teens. That’s the nineteen teens, not the twenty teens. [...] Anyway, she eventually got mixed up with Mary Pickford’s brother, Jack. You do know Mary Pickford, right? (SHE shakes her head.) Mary? Pickford? (No response from SHE.) “The Girl With The Curls” Mary Pickford? (Still no response.) Best Actress for Coquette, 1929, Mary Pickford? (Nope.) Actress in 52 feature films? The woman who introduced Dorothy and Lillian Gish to D. W. Griffith—Mary Pickford? Namesake of the Mary Pickford Theatre? [...] Alright. Well. Olive Thomas got mixed up with Jack Pickford, brother of “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford, but God forbid anyone know their theater history. So on a trip to Paris in 1920, Jack announced that he had contracted syphilis and that Olive most likely was infected as well. Now, if you’ve ever read Ibsen’s Ghosts, which I acknowledge is a long shot, you understand what a predicament Miss Olive found herself in in 1920, which was thirty-nine years after Ghosts was written and eight years before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. Without a cure in sight, poor Miss Olive “accidentally” swallowed an overdose—that is, a whole bottle—of Jack’s mercury bichloride. She died two days later. But then she began appearing to actors, to crew backstage at the New Amsterdam. And has ever since.
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