The term “ghosting” was first introduced by theatre and performance studies scholar Marvin Carlson in his book The Haunted Stage (2003). In it, he argues that an actor’s previous onstage roles will seep through to their current characters and influence how the audience views their performance. This can either enhance or weaken an actor’s performance, however, when used strategically by casting a celebrity or well-known actor in a certain role, the director can use this effect to help the audience become familiar with what kind of character is on stage and what kind of show they are watching. This is obvious with stunt casting scenarios wherein celebrities appear in high-profile performances in heavily marketed, generally commercial, productions. For more, see Cook, Carlson.

Sources and Further Reading:

Cook, Amy. Shakespearean Futures: Casting the Bodies of Tomorrow on Shakespeare’s Stages Today. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Carlson, Marvin. The Haunted Stage : The Theatre as Memory Machine. University of Michigan Press, 2002.