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The Ghost of Christmas Absent

ABOVE: The new village hall in Puncknowle and below posters advertising The Christmas Ghost on the regional metro. This one is displayed at Corfe Mullen Underground Station.

The Threadbone Players annual Christmas production this year will be The Christmas Ghost, written by and starring "The Ghost of Professor Thrupiece".

Whilst purists will object to the very concept of Professor Thrupiece's ghost - he is after all merely missing presumed absent rather than definitively "passed over", "gone to sleep" "deceased" or "with his maker" - The Christmas Ghost's Director - Ect O'Plasm - believes that the public will make the necessary allowances and suspend belief sufficiently to give the play a chance "on its own terms".

"Professor Thrupiece was a well-known admirer of the well-crafted ghost story and there are reasons to believe that, had he not gone "missing presumed absent", he might well have crafted the odd seasonal entertainment himself. As it is we only have his collection of short spooky stories published by the Threadbone Press in 1959 under the title "Professor Thrupiece's Horribly True Pieces". The play we are offering draws upon two of these - The Professor and the Naughty Nasal-clipper and The Disappearing Professor - the last strangely prophetic of his own Swiss vanishing act".

Whilst the identity of the actor "under the white sheet" remains a closely-guarded secret, speculation is rife that it is none other than Deputy Chair of the Threadbone Corporation Mr Royston Binstock, a recent but enthusiastic "board treader". Mr Binstock starred in The Threadbone Player's A Lady Varnishes earlier in the year as "man on the train" - a performance that was generally well-received and even described by one reviewer as a "show-stealer". ["The way Mr Binstock placed his luggage in the rack and then removed it before alighting from the train was a model of restrained yet realistic acting. If further opportunities to perform simple tasks in public arise, he should seize them with both hands since both appear to act equally well." East Creech Echo]

Friends of Mr Binstock - who would not be drawn - say only that if it is indeed Mr Binstock under the sheet, then it would be "the perfect part for him". "He's not great at remembering complex lines [He famously f****d up "Sorry. Can I just reach my suitcase please" in The Lady Varnishes three nights running] but when it comes to diving under a sheet, allowing his roving hands to wander and saying "Oooooooooo, Oooooooooo", he's very experienced".

What lies beneath. Theatre-goers are fascinated to know just who is playing the Ghost of Professor Thrupiece in the upcoming Threadbone Players Production of The Christmas Ghost.

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