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Campfire-style play presents ghostly love story

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Love stories really are ghost stories.

A theater-installation invites the audience to gather around the two-person cast for an evening of intimate storytelling about that place where young lovers go to make out — and those shady train tracks where kids convene for a glimpse of the supernatural.

“We’ve all been this person,” said co-director Jamie Effros. “Everyone’s got that place.”

Bekah Brunstetter’s play “Take Her to See the Maco Lights” tells the story of James, the white son of a tobacco tycoon who fell for Mattie, his father’s black receptionist in the 1950s.

The “Maco Lights” in question are, according to the play’s Maco, N.C. lore, luminous ghosts that appear at the site of an 1867 train crash.

Those abandoned train tracks are the place where James’s ghost chats with the granddaughter of his beloved Mattie — and where the play takes place.

The audience, which will number around forty per night, will be seated in a circle around the actors, in refurbished chairs, adding to the camp site-style vibe.

“We’re choosing to limit the capacity,” Kronfeld said. “So that [way] everyone feels like they are having a story shared with them, personally and directly.”

The directors said Brunstetter’s story was an unusually accessible work by the playwright (who they’ve worked with extensively in the past), known for her wry humor and full-frontal embrace of everyday awkwardness.

“I found myself describing [the play] as a romance,” co-director Sherri Kronfeld said.

She said they intend to present it sweetly, as if letting the audience in on a hushed, brand-new love affair.

After the final “curtain,” the audience is invited to stay for a live set of folk-driven, acoustic music played by local bands including Queen Esther, Mesiko, and the Lobbyists.

“You’ve been sitting here, staring [across the circle] at these people all night,” Kronfeld said, “Now you can get to know them.”

“Take Her to See the Maco Lights” at the Invisible Dog [51 Bergen S between Boerum Place and Smith Street, (646) 270–2550, www.theinvisibledog.org]. Opens Nov. 14, $15.

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