With Haint, Memphis playwright Justin Asher hopes to share the story of a woman who holds on to the past so tightly that she can't live in the present. Mercy, the central character used to be a well-known root worker and healer. Now she secludes herself in her home and depends on her 30-year-old son Charlie as her only link to the outside world. After her son dies, she's forced to deal with life again. Along the way, she discovers the secrets that Charlie kept from her for years. From that point on, Charlie, acting as the narrator, watches as his mother learns to trust people again and let go of the fear and anger she'd been a slave to for years.
- From Hamlet to Haint, great drama needs a good ghost.
Germantown Community Theatre, where Asher serves as artistic director, is reviving Haint, which was originally produced by the New Moon Theatre Company at TheatreWorks, where it received encouraging notices. It's less a traditional ghost story than a drama that just happens to have a ghost woven into it. "It doesn't try to be scary. It does, however, try to make you uncomfortable at moments," Asher said prior to the show's first production.
Asher picked up the word "haint" from his granddad, who used to tell rural ghost stories adorned with bits of hoodoo and other folk traditions.
Memphis seems to have developed a taste for new work. It's good to see the trend spreading east.