New play brings Navy Yard ghosts to life

New play brings Navy Yard ghosts to life
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Some plays put you on the edge of your seat — others encourage you to get out of your seat entirely.

Part history lesson, part theater, part walking tour, a moving play is bringing to life some of the ghosts of the Navy Yard as it leads audiences through BLDG 92 — the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s new history museum.

“We look at theater as a landscape,” said Catherine Wallach, the producer of “A History of Launching Ships.”

“We want people to check in and out of story and have the story flow in a more abstract way.”

The show will follow an Elizabeth Burgin, who freed hundreds of American soldiers from British prison ships in defiance of the crown on her flight from New York City.

Polybe + Seats productions have blended past and present before, performing in non-theatrical venues like the Old Stone House in Park Slope, a barge in Red Hook, and a kitchenware store in the recent past — part of a trend towards interactive theater that has made it to the mainstream in shows like, “Sleep No More,” says Wallach.

“At BLDG 92 it’s going to be even more immersive than before,” she promised.

The Brooklyn-based outfit commissioned Ditmas Park playwright Avi Glickstein to write the script specifically for the location — a gig that came with unlimited privileges to roam the normally restricted space that was once America’s premier shipbuilding terrain.

“I was interested in the ghosts of industry that are still there,” said Glickstein. “There is still a ship repair and ships moored there to be worked on. I learned about these two big dry docks called ‘the Twins,’ and I wanted the Twins to be a part of the play.”

The play is a first for BLDG 92.

“A History of Launching Ships,” at BLDG 92 [63 Flushing Ave. at Carlton Avenue in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, (718) 907–5992, www.bldg92.com] Oct. 11–28. 8 pm. $18.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.