Max (Mike Rao), Felix (Eddie Jones) and Visarut (Phai Giron) consult a book containing information that attempts to rationalize an apparent uptick in sightings of “Asian-looking” ghosts. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Max (Mike Rao), Felix (Eddie Jones) and Visarut (Phai Giron) consult a book containing information that attempts to rationalize an apparent uptick in sightings of “Asian-looking” ghosts. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Perseverance prepares ‘Paranormal’ play

A ghost story is born.

“The Brothers Paranormal” is a horror-tinged play, but the latest from Perseverance Theatre does offer escapism from recent dread.

“The one thing we have all in common right now is an epidemic, a pandemic,” said Randy Reyes, an accomplished and acclaimed theater professional who is visiting Juneau to direct the show. “To have a play that’s not about that and can celebrate the things that can bind us is a gift.”

The play focuses on two Thai American brothers hired by a Black couple to investigate paranormal sounds and sights in the couple’s residence. Each pair is haunted by elements of their past, among other forces.

Leslie Ishii, artistic director for Perseverance Theatre, recently told the Empire intentional representation is something Perseverance takes pride in, and she is proud “The Brothers Paranormal” tells the stories of communities sometimes neglected in on-stage depictions.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire 
Visarut (Phai Giron) weathers derision from his brother, Max (Mike Rao) during a rehearsal performance of “The Brothers Paranormal.” The brothers’ at-times strained relationship is a recurring factor in the play.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire Visarut (Phai Giron) weathers derision from his brother, Max (Mike Rao) during a rehearsal performance of “The Brothers Paranormal.” The brothers’ at-times strained relationship is a recurring factor in the play.

“When you’re represented on stage, and you feel heard, it’s very exciting, it just affirms your humanity,” Ishii said.

Despite the spooky trappings and a script that discusses weighty topics such as addiction, death, displacement and climate crisis, Reyes said whether the show’s content is appropriate for audience members younger than 13 likely depends more on a tolerance for dialog rather than frights.

However, “The Brothers Paranormal,” does feature some scares.

Felix (Eddie Jones) and Della (Vivian Melde) are unnerved by an unwanted presence in their residence that only Della can seem to sense. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Felix (Eddie Jones) and Della (Vivian Melde) are unnerved by an unwanted presence in their residence that only Della can seem to sense. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“It’s a psychological definitely,” Reyes said of the play’s horror leanings. “but it’s a classic Asian ghost, not in the gore way, but in the ‘Oh my ghost,’ sense. “

Reyes said films such as “The Grudge” or “Ringu” are a good comparison for the tone.

[Representation takes center stage]

While a horror play focused on stories from two often-marginalized communities, might seem to hint at a niche play, those close to the production spoke of its wide appeal.

“This piece is so accessible,” said Rio Alberto, director of marketing and engagement for Perseverance Theatre.

Reyes said the play is well-constructed, praised its character development and noted it is filled with humor, love and moments that speak to shared experiences.

“That’s been really fun in rehearsal to discover all of these things that we have more in common that what we’d think,” Reyes said.

Know & Go

What: “The Brothers Paranormal”

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 and 19; Feb. 23-26; and March 3- 5. 4 p.m. on Feb. 20, Feb. 27 and March 6. On-demand, March 4-April 3.

Where: Perseverance Theatre, 914 3rd St., Douglas.

Admission: Tickets cost $45. The Feb. 20 and Feb. 23 performances will be pay as you wish. Print-at-home tickets should be sent to attendees no later than 24 hours before a performance.

Mitigations: Proof of vaccination and masks will be required for audiences to enter the theater. Perseverance Theatre’s Covid-19 protocols can be found at https://www.ptalaska.org/covid-response/.

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