The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Floyd the Friendly Ghost of the Fort Peck Summer Theatre

 

October 31, 2018

Courtesy Photo / For the Courier

Shannon McMillan (r) and Andy Meyers (l) star in A Grand Night For Singing on the stage of the Fort Peck Summer Theatre.

For many actors and actresses around the country, legends of resident ghosts, phantoms and poltergeist run rampant in the creaky halls and echoing chambers of theaters and opera houses around the globe. That tradition was popularized in Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom of the Opera. The Fort Peck Summer Theatre is no exception to that tradition, and according to Artistic Director Andy Meyers, the FPST's resident ghoulish friend is known by the name of Floyd.

According to Meyers, there are competing origin stories for Floyd's spirit. One proposes that he is the afterlife remnants of a past projectionist and the other contends that he is the spirit of a construction worker who fell to his death during the theatre's original construction. Meyers states the first story is the popular legend amongst the performers, while the second story may actually have some basis in fact since a worker did fall and die in the 1930s.

Unlike many other tales of hauntings, however, Floyd's story lacks the makings of a monster horror flick. By Meyers account, Floyd is actually a fairly friendly ghost, responsible for saving people rather than haunting them. Floyd has also been spotted by some present in the theatre but mostly in mirrors and not as a direct apparition. Eerie sounds and unexplained noises also seem to haunt the theatre's crews, especially for those lone workers catching up on setting lights or checking sound levels.

"No one ever feels haunted or spooked," explained Meyers who went on to say that many accounts, even back before his arrival, told of people feeling the sensation of falling and then being miraculously saved or put back on balance with little physical explanation. It would appear that Floyd may be trying to save others from meeting their demise in the theatre. "Some people would start falling off ladders and be caught or trip down the stairs to catch themselves in some unexplained way," recounted the director.

Asked if it is commonplace to find ghost stories in theaters, Meyers explained that the environment lends to the idea of creating and embracing these tales. Meyers said that, "Literally every theater in the country has a resident ghost." He even explained that those same theaters have "ghost lights" to roll out and leave on at night to avoid leaving the ghost in the dark. He even admitted that FPST rolls their light out every single night.

The artistic director told a story that recounted when the Women in Black was performed at the theatre in 2016, the actress playing the part of a ghost in the play remained after hours during the dark to make sure her portrayal of a mock ghost would not offend the resident spirit. These accounts seems to drive home the tradition's importance within the acting community.

 

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