At the top of GHOST RINGS, the latest from Brooklyn-based company Half Straddle, director and playwright Tina Satter walks onstage, grabs the mic, and introduces herself. For years, she explains, she has been creating plays about her sister. This time, she wanted to do something different, so she created a band and learned to play the drums. Then she remembered that she was in a band once before, as a child. With her sister, of course.
This anecdote lays down the beat for this full length play/concert/song-cycle that explores those close childhood relationships that live on as ghosts inside us. The piece stars a quartet of Satter on drums, composer Chris Giarmo on synthesizer, and downtown powerhouses Erin Markey and Kristen C. Sieh as frontwomen and “very close friends” Shawna and Samantha. The evening feels simultaneously alien and deeply familiar, glistening with a dreamy sugary-punk aesthetic and pulsating innocence underneath. Through a montage of text, movement, quirky puppetry, and energetic songs, the band evokes beautifully a tender girlhood intimacy that exists somewhere between friendship, romance, and sisterhood. As Shawna and Samantha’s closeness is revealed and unravelled, Satter cries out from the drum kit: “Why isn’t this who we have children with?” The queer agony and ecstasy of this question invites the audience back into that pubescent moment when love suddenly becomes social, and gives GHOST RINGS its glittery and irresistible beating heart.
Tina Satter/Half Straddle’s Ghost Rings
New York Live Arts
Apr 22-24, 26-30