A ghost's tale

“The Unexpected Company” perform in Laramie.

If you’ve ever wondered whether ghosts haunt the halls of the Laramie Plains Civic Center, you’re not alone.

A new play from the Unexpected Company, “A Ghost’s Tale,” imagines the building’s ghostly history in which a historic injustice has marred Laramie’s past for more than a century.

“A Ghost’s Tale” is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. today, 3 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Nov. 1 and 3 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Alice Hardie Stevens Event Center’s Van Oss Stage, 603 Ivinson. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger.

Carole Homer, a member of the senior theater group, wrote “A Ghost’s Tale” over a period of three years. She was inspired by a story of unexplained noises at the Laramie Plains Civic Center.

“A relative of mine was working in the civic center, and he and his daughter went up to the third floor just to explore,” she said. “They heard some really strange noises, and they couldn’t figure out where the noises were coming from.”

Homer said she’s heard rumors of ghosts in the old building, from a deceased janitor to the victim of gang violence.

The historic landmark near downtown Laramie was built in 1878 and is the oldest high school in the state. Two major additions were added in 1928 and 1939. It was used as a high school until the 1950s and then a junior high until 1978.

In Homer’s story, which uses characters from Laramie’s past, narrator Nancy Ford gives a lecture about the history of the old high school. Ford recalls an incident when she was a student in the 1950s, when she encountered a ghost in the girls’ restroom.

Ford tells her parents, who don’t believe her. She then goes to her grandparents, Aven and Ruth Nelson, who take the matter to their bridge club.

The Aven Nelson of the play is loosely based on Aven Nelson of Laramie history, a botanist who also served as president of the University of Wyoming.

Some members of the bridge group are open to the idea of ghosts, while others decide there’s no such possibility.

“Half the bridge group are willing to keep an open mind — maybe she did see a ghost, maybe someone is playing a joke on her,” Homer said. “The other half are the doubters.”

In the world of “A Ghost’s Tale,” those with an open mind are rewarded when their spooky suspicions are confirmed.

Homer is directing the production, with Susan Shumway as the musical director. Two of Homer’s granddaughters also make an appearance, in addition to the senior actors.

“A Ghost’s Tale” is the first production to be staged on the Van Oss Stage, which is part of a recently completed addition and renovation of the Alice Hardie Stevens Center. Since 2007, the Unexpected Company has donated proceeds from its plays to the Laramie Plains Museum, which owns the center.

Tickets are available at the door or at First Interstate Bank, 221 Ivinson Ave.; the Laramie Plains Museum, 603 Ivinson Ave.; and the Eppson Center for Seniors, 1560 N. Third St.

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