Towards the end of last semester, the College of Fine Arts officially opened the doors to the Joan and Edgar Booth Theatre, a state-of-the-art new facility located in West Campus. With a new scene shop, lighting lab, classrooms, and adaptable studio performance space, the theater department finally seems to have all the tools they need for continued success.
That is, if you’re talking to everyone except for the ghost of John Wilkes Booth.
Comfortably floating on the sofa of his cramped apartment in Purgatory’s Lower East Side, the ghost of the infamous actor turned Lincoln assassin seemed to have different thoughts surrounding the building’s future. Booth first learned of the building in the Purgatory Post, in which architecture firm Elkus Manfredi had posted an advertisement about their recent work.
“I saw a picture of this beautiful building, and I was like, wait, that’s my name!” exclaimed Booth. “I mean a construction like that, 153 years later, with my name on it? Who’da thunk it?”
The jubilation didn’t last long. “Then last week, I was using my ghost Keurig, and for a second I thought, hey, what if these artsy losers are playing a cruel joke on me? I mean, I know it’s purely coincidental that I share the name with the big-bucks donors, but it kinda feels like they’re sticking it to me too, you know?”
Booth elaborated on his claim by doing his best impression of an artiste, conjuring a ghostly beanie, piercings, a lit cigarette, and a healthy dose of sarcasm: “oh, haha, good old Johnny Booth totally wasn’t an acting star in his day. All he was famous for was shooting some tall dude in the head. Let’s put his name on our bougie building so he can feel inferior in the afterlife!”
Since his realization, Booth has considered tampering with the building using his ghostly powers. “I don’t know what I’d do, but it would be pretty bad,” he said, doing his best to sound menacing. “Maybe like steal a couple of vacuums from a maintenance closet, or translate all their show posters into Portuguese. You know, sinister stuff.” Booth even proclaimed his status as the one true theater ghost, encouraging thespians to reject commonly superstitious names like Macbeth. “That guy is beyond harmless! Say his name as much as you want. I just saw him coming out of a Purgatory pottery class with an Açai Bowl!”
Despite having lots to say regarding his status as a superstitious theatrical presence, Booth declined to disclose if he was going to exact supernatural vengeance on the new building. “I’m definitely considering it, but I’d rather not get sent down to HE-double-hockey-sticks if I can control it. I’m surprised I made it to purgatory at all!”
“Luckily,” whispered Booth with a wink, “God’s a theater person.”
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