Tony Cownie

Tony Cownie

TO ELLEN TERRY (THE LYCEUM GHOST)

 

If you missed the announcement from Company Manager Dan 

You’re probably wondering – if indeed a ghost can 

What’s become of all us mortals – the season far from ended?

Not a whisper from the stage since the iron curtain last descended.

 

Well! We’re in the midst of a pandemic – in fact you lived through one too 

Just after the Great War – they called it the Spanish Flu.

But Henry Irvine was insistent – the audience expectant 

So the theatre remained open – covered with disinfectant.

 

Was this wise? Well, let’s just say there’s few mitigating factors

There were many sick subscribers and lots of dead actors

Anyway! Those were different times. You ended shows with the national anthem.

Besides it’s never a good idea to fall out with a phantom!

 

So let’s put that to one side. There’s seriously nothing we can do.

We’ve not abandoned the theatre nor organised an exorcism for you.

On the contrary – take a break. Look after your spiritual health.

You’re as much a part of the place as the stage door itself.

 

It must be great fun to terrorise directors that are being difficult sods

When alone in the dark auditorium - they hear strange noises from the gods.

And the audience? The rude patron? The argumentative toff?

It must be really hard to have no-one to scare the shit out of.

 

Some say you’re a myth. Claims of your image - inconsistent. That’s sure to annoy

The likes of Eileen McCallum, Muriel Romanes and Nicola Roy 

Who swear they know you are not simply a superstition.

John Kielty too! So it’s not only a woman’s intuition!

So what? Some see you dressed in white, some blue or grey emerging from the gloom. 

That simply explains the freaky goings on in the quick change room.

Be in no doubt – you’re very real to us all – have no fear.

Besides we’re taking no chances – not after what you did to the last chandelier!

 

Ellen, we’d like you to know – without sounding - well it’s far too late to say ‘tacky’

But you’re a special ghost – and kind – according to Front of House Manager Jackie.

You acted on the stage on the theatre’s opening night – and it’s here your spirit will stay.

So keep safe your enchantments through this hiatus – its epilogue’s not far away.

 

We’ll end with the words of a fellow dame – from a song that inspired the nation.

If you’ve heard it down the years you may notice a slight alteration

But fittingly (for the Royal Lyceum) was lately quoted by the Queen.

“…Don’t know when. But I know we’ll meet again some…” Halloween!

Tags: Letters