It’s not always easy being a child, especially when you have to move. At least that is what Virginia and her brothers Idaho and Washington think. After their mother’s death, they have moved to a Scottish county with their father, to inhabit an old castle and start a new life. The fact that an old spectre known by the name of Sir Simon was included in the purchase is poor comfort. Everything is unfamiliar and sad. Even the weather is miserable with its typical British rain; many of the castle’s nooks are spooky, and breakfast consists of tea, greasy sausages and porridge instead of cornflakes. Why did we have to move? Life really is hard sometimes!
On the stroke of midnight of their first night there, the castle’s ghost Sir Simon makes an appearance. For more than 400 years, he has been haunting the castle, grieving for his beloved wife, Lady Eleanor, who lost her life one gruesome night under never entirely explained circumstances. That is why Sir Simon has not been able to sleep for 400 years; nobody dares to approach him and he scares people half to death. Often imprisoned in his own chains and loneliness, he is delighted about the new residents. He has even oiled his chains and touched up the bloodstain in the lobby for their arrival. But whatever spookiness Sir Simon presents, he is unable to rattle this family. On the contrary: They complain about the nocturnal disturbance and set horrible traps. In fact, these modern-age people consider Sir Simon to be nothing but a superstition. After all, they live in the Here and Now. Who cares about century-old ghost stories and the dead of long ago? Sheer ignorance, the worst kind of spectre-mobbing and ghosting, thinks Sir Simon. It’s not always easy being a ghost!
And then Virginia becomes interested in the story of old Sir Simon and she feels sorry for him. After her mother’s death, she knows what it feels like to be lonely and sad. Virginia and Sir Simon become friends and slowly begin to uncover a dark secret from the past. Is it possible to contact the deceased or to even change history after the fact?
Oscar Wilde’s fairy-tale story “Das Gespenst von Canterville (The Canterville Ghost)” about a ghost manqué and the fearless modern age has been a favourite since 1887. Markus Bothe
is a specialist for adapting major literary works for children’s and young people’s theatre. He received the 2010 German Theatre Prize DER FAUST in the category of “Director Children’s and Young People’s Theatre”. His production of “Medea” has been part of Schauspiel Leipzig’s repertoire since 2020.