I don’t know how to begin talking about this production, so I’m just going to start somewhere and hope it all makes sense. I believe there are two constants in life – birth and death. They aren’t necessarily always in that order, and there mightn’t be all that much time between them, but on average, there is about seventy-odd years between the two events, seventy-odd years to grow and love and feel and hurt and laugh and cry and reach out to other people and try and make it the best you can. What Campion Decent achieves in his Unholy Ghosts is something like a reflection or a meditation upon a life-lived, a grand statement upon the resolution of two lives well-lived to the fullest, to see what lies beneath and what we can glean from surviving the passing of our parents.
Presented by White Box Theatre and Griffin Independent, Unholy Ghosts is mostly told through scenes featuring the son and one of either parent, and direct-audience address. It is a namless family – the characters are known and referred to as simply Mother, Father, Son, and Daughter (though she does not make an appearance in the story.) Obviously autobiographical to a degree, we’re not quite sure of what’s real and what isn’t; perhaps ‘creative autobiography’ is a useful term here, seeing as – in Decent’s own words – it was “written from a space of grief in an attempt to honour yet complicate the past.”