When Jon was a boy, his father was shot—and suddenly their lives were part of history. Years later, when staging a production of Hamlet, the son must confront his buried feelings about a crime that shocked the nation. In this haunting new show, Artistic Director Tony Taccone conjures an imaginary world based on the historic assassination of Mayor George Moscone. The ghost of the king stalks the battlements of a boy’s mind—and speaks to all of us about love and loss. A poetic collage of fiction and memory, this world-premiere production is staged by none other than Jonathan Moscone.
“Brave, evocative and surprisingly funny…an impressive and courageous project…an exercise in personal vulnerabilities, as a public exorcism of personal demons and as Taccone’s playwriting debut…Taccone’s sharp, acerbic humor keeps the show afloat. The historic material is enlightening and, in the end, the play’s emotional core comes through in some deeply moving images of the charming and elusive father.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Beautifully written…Undeniably powerful. Ghost Light burns with the need to burnish a father’s legacy…Fuses the personal and the political with explosive results. From cheeky inside jokes about the theatuh to penetrating insights about the nature of grief, Ghost Light is radiant indeed in its world premiere co-production at Berkeley Rep…All of this unfolds on a set dominated by the august facade of San Francisco City Hall (design by Todd Rosenthal), which is fitting, because it’s the weight of history that gives Ghost Light its intensity…The combination of Moscone’s bracing candor, Taccone’s lacerating wit and San Francisco’s legendary history imbues the play with a deeply cathartic sense of the tragicomedy of existence.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“Haunting, insightful and often mordantly funny…Taccone’s cerebral script slips freely between anguished dreams, sexual advances and political discourse. At the heart of the play is Jon’s struggle to restore his father’s place in history…Moore is outstanding. Sarcastic, fiercely intelligent and deeply wounded, his Jon is a riveting portrait of a man at odds with himself. When, like Hamlet, he finally claims his birthright, it’s the stuff of great theater.”—San Francisco Examiner
“This is a brave piece of work and an artful demonstration of fact and fiction fusing into something authentic and undeniably powerful…I expected Ghost Light, a co-production of Berkeley Repertory Theatre (where Taccone is artistic director) and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where the play had the first leg of its world premiere last summer, to be about grief and the complicated relationship between fathers and sons. It is about those things. How could it not be, seeing as how it deals primarily with the effect of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone’s assassination in 1978, when his son Jon was 14 years old. But what struck me about the play—a strange, fascinating, complex and challenging drama—was how much it’s about art and the act of creativity.”—Chad Jones’ Theatre Dogs
Ghost Light shines on
History is personal in this haunting show that draws from the assassination of George Moscone.
The Memory Be Green
View a 30-minute documentary about the making of Ghost Light. Co-produced by KQED and Dave Iverson.
‘Ghost’ captures George Moscone’s progressive role
After years of silence about his father’s assassination, Jonathan Moscone directs the script penned by Tony Taccone, which “captures the theatrical essence of Jonathan’s experience.”
Illuminating the Legacy of a Fallen Father
New York Times article about the genesis of Ghost Light
From one Moscone to another
Anatomy of a quick-change
The prison guard’s hair