by Rose Guildenstern
Everybody loves a good ghost story. This is most definitely not a “good” ghost story.
Everyone longs to be loved—but what if love itself is the problem? What if the love story we all wish for is really the ghost of a story we’re too terrified to remember, and the stories we love to live again and again are really the lost refrains of a love song disguised in the penumbra of our own forgetting?
Most importantly, what if life itself is the greatest love story, told over and over because nobody wants to admit the god-awful truth, that all the world’s a stage and we are merely playing at star-crossed loving and living in the spotlight?
Until that fateful day when we have no choice but to confront this tale of cosmic horror in the hopes that humanity, at last, wakes up and stops lying to itself before it’s too late?
Meet Vee, stuck upstage in the heavens of her own afterlife. Then there’s Val, downstage with the living but haunted by ghosts. Don’t forget Julie, stubbornly stage left but longing to be downstage with Val. And finally, meet Peter, solitary in his stage-rightness, but with the sneaking suspicion he just might be dead wrong.
Which brings us at last to the demon Iago, trapped center stage and willing to bridge heaven and hell to exit this cursed performance once and for all.
And you, dear reader, play the most critical role in this tale, for you must decide whether you shall be audience, director, or accomplice in this retelling of chilling lies to scare us so that we, at last, perchance stop lying to ourselves.
Just as Good Omens reimagined the book of Revelations and His Dark Materials reshaped Milton’s Paradise Lost, Iago’s Penumbra is a modern treatise on love and the darkness that redeems us, rooted in the works of Shakespeare—with a little philosophy, physics, and Lovecraft thrown in, just for fun.