Aaron Holbritter |

September 4, 2019

Albany, NY

“Turn of the Screw” to Haunt Ten Broeck Mansion

The Creative License Theater Collective, in partnership with the Albany County Historical Association at Ten Broeck Mansion and in association with Discover Albany’s Literary Legacies program, will present Henry James’ classic ghost tale “The Turn of the Screw” with the historic Ten Broeck home taking on the role of Bly Manor, the eerie estate at the center of the story. The show will run for four performances on October 4, 5, 11 and 12.

The adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher tells the story of a young governess engaged to care for two orphaned children. She soon learns that the Gothic manor holds many secrets and that she is not the children’s first governess. Krysta Dennis will direct this two-person thriller featuring Angelique Powell and Aaron Holbritter engaged in a ghostly game of cat and mouse.  

“This is simply one of the best ghost stories ever written,” says Holbritter, co-founder of Creative License, “and this clever, two-person adaptation really captures the chilling nature of the story in a very simple way, which allows us to present the story at the mansion. It really is a perfect setting, and no one knows how to use this space better than Krysta.”

Dennis, Producer of Creative Arts for Siena College, has directed two previous shows at the mansion for the Northeast Theater Ensemble: the critically lauded “The Little Foxes” and “An Ideal Husband”. "The Mansion is an incredible place to make theatre- there is no proscenium dividing audience from performers, and this proximity results in an incredible feeling of immersion in the story,” explains Dennis. “The mansion has a life of its own, and functions more like a character in its own right than just a space in which to perform."

Holbritter credits the genesis of the idea for the production to Discover Albany, which is featuring the performance as part of it’s Literary Legacies program, celebrating storytelling and the renowned stories and authors connected to Albany. Henry James was the son of an Albany merchant and spent his early years growing up in a home at 70 N. Pearl Street. “Henry James' familial ties to Albany absolutely influence his writings. Isabel Archer from Portrait of a Lady is from Albany and he mentions her house on State Street.” says Maeve McEneny-Johnson of Discover Albany. “Henry was also close with his brother William, who is considered a leading mind in late nineteenth century psychology. But he's also the founder of one of the country's first psychic and paranormal research societies. Turn of the Screw blurs the line between the psychological and the paranormal - William's influence on Henry is certainly informing this classic ghost story!” McEneny-Johnson will lead a short conversation before each performance, offering background, local connections and context for the story, while leading the audience through the historic home and gardens.

The story is also receiving something of a cultural resurgence with a new film adaptation, “The Turning”, executive produced by Stephen Spielberg, scheduled for release in 2020, and Netflix’s hit series “The Haunting of Hill House” will use “Turn of the Screw” as the inspiration for its second season, re-titled “The Haunting of Bly Manor”. 

“We’re beating them to the punch,” laughs Holbritter.

Photos available on request after 9/20