The Ghostlight Theatre Club was named for artistic director Lance Garrett's fascination with the tradition of leaving a stage light turned on when the theater is dark and empty. While the "ghost light" serves a real safety purpose, as most theaters don't have stage lighting switches located near the door, there is mystical side to the tradition that dates back to the time of Shakespeare.
"Depending on the source, ghost lights were either placed to ward off spirits from the stage or to guide the spirits of actors past to the stage where they can play when no one else is there," Garrett said.
The second, more romantic notion of the light has always appealed to Garrett.
Ghostlight was formed in 2007 by a group of eight like-minded actors and theater professionals who each noticed a vacuum in the Oklahoma City scene when it came to more challenging theater.
"We started the theater with this premise: Respect the audience. Don't dumb the show down. Don't do scripts that they've seen a hundred times. Give them new fresh material that is going to make them think," Garrett said. "If we do it, and do it well, people will want to see more of the kinds of shows that we want to produce."
After a season of producing shows at a.k.a. Gallery in the Paseo Arts District, scheduling conflicts arose that made it necessary for Ghostlight to seek out an alternative stage venue if the company were to continue regular performances.
Throughout more than a year of rehearsing and staging shows at a.k.a., the cast and crew spent a lot of time talking to locals, business owners and visiting area galleries and restaurants, reinforcing Garrett and the company members' feelings about staying a part of the Paseo community, especially since it's the lone theater company in the arts district.
Company organizers contacted John Belt, a big supporter of local arts and major property owner in Paseo. Together, Ghostlight and Belt looked into potential theater spaces before settling on a new location at 3110 N. Walker, right next door to the Red Rooster Bar & Grill.
Ghostlight's technical director, Rockne Gillen, oversaw the renovation of the former office space into what Garrett touts as the most comfortable theater in Oklahoma City. With 45 seats, four feet of space between rows and a wide center aisle, Garrett said the company worked not to cram too much into the small space, and actually sacrificed two rows of seats in favor of extra legroom.
The small theater comes with the likelihood of more sellout performances, but Garrett is confident that with month-long runs in the cards, everyone who wants to see a production should be able to do so.
Now in control of its own space, Ghostlight has arranged an entire season of shows. The company is christening its new theater with "Glengarry Glen Ross," a play by David Mamet, which stages 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 15.
Ghostlight also has slated "Fat Pig" by Neil LaBute, "The Real Thing" by Tom Stoppard, "Mindgame" by Anthony Horowitz and an original holiday show called "Screw the Eggnog, Pass the Rum: A Ghostlight Christmas Spectacular" to fill out the rest of its season.
Glengarry Glen Ross stages at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Aug. 15 at Ghostlight Theatre Club, 3110 N. Walker.