Ghost in the Light is based on the life of Han Van Meegeren, considered to be one of the greatest art forgers in history. In the 1920s, Han was a successful young artist in Holland. He patterned his style on the Old Masters, conservative, precise, and romantic. But in the latter part of the decade, critics enthralled by Realism turned their backs on painters like Han. Happily married but tormented by his lack of success, Han decided to revenge his failures by painting a newly "discovered" Vermeer, and then tearing it to shreds after it is declared a masterpiece. For three years he struggled to create a painting that would not only be mistaken for a Vermeer, but would pass any scientific test of its age. The painting was eventually declared "not just a Vermeer, but Vermeer's finest work"; but before he could destroy it, the painting was sold for half a million dollars. Torn between revenge and wealth, Han accepted the money in silence. During the next five years, he proceeded to paint four more "newly discovered masterpieces" by Vermeer, becoming wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. At the same time, his secret carried a price: madness, the destruction of his marriage, and morphine addiction. The end of World War II dragged Han's secret into the open. One of his paintings was discovered in an Austrian salt mine owned by Herman Goering, Hitler's second man. Its origin was traced back to Han, who was accused of treason for selling a Dutch masterpiece to the Nazi's.

At its heart, Ghost in the Light deals with the love story of Han and his wife, and the conflict between obsession and love. In its journey, questions of art, fashion, truth, friendship, and the responsibility of artists in wartime all become underlying currents in the play. Spanning almost two decades, Ghost is both epic and intimate story-telling. "An unheralded little gem... terrific," writes The Slant Magazine. Nine actors play seventeen roles: Seven men (ages 25-50); two women ( ages 25-35); multiple sets.

Performance History:

[July, 2000] Second Wind Productions (CA) World Premiere

[Mar, 2001] The Deptford Players (NY) Staged Reading

Format: A full length play in two acts (one intermission); total playing time 135 minutes

Read: sample pages.

Performance rights and royalties: Rights and Contact

Playwright's Notes: