Photo by John Snell
Abby Paige, as Edith, holds court, gossiping at the roller rink with Doug (Mark Roberts) and Conrad (Robert Nuner) in this scene from David Budbill’s Judevine - at Lost Nation Theater (in a 10th Anniversary Production) April 20-May 7. Visit lostnationtheater.org or call 802-229-0492 for more information.
MONTPELIER — David Budbill’s Judevine is coming home to Lost Nation Theater for a 10th anniversary production that opens the community’s professional theater’s 2017 season at Montpelier City Hall Arts Center, Thursdays – Sundays, April 20– May 7, 2017.
A poetic, funny, and earthy portrait of rural Vermont by David Budbill. Judevine comes home in a stellar show at Lost Nation Theater. By turns raucous & bawdy, delicate & painful, funny, loving & angry, it reveals the survival strength in the oppressed & hurt. David Budbill’s Judevine is a tribute to Vermont - the one that still exits on her gritty back roads- as seen thru the eyes of one of her best poets. (April 20–May 7 at Lost Nation Theater)
Seven actors create 24 characters - ordinary people - in a poor, rural (fictional?) mountaintown in northern Vermont, called Judevine. where incredible physical beauty, great hardship and a tenacious & indomitable will to survive live side by side.
“Wrenchingly real, fiercely emotional and unexpectedly funny.” - Chicago Sun Times
“Tough and tender, [and] not afraid to tell hard stories with a warm heart.” — The Boston Globe
Lost Nation Theater has been telling Vermont stories since its inception. When producing director Kathleen Keenan realized that that 2017 would be its 40th Birthday (Kim Bent founded the company in Bristol Vermont in 1977), she had one thought: Open 2017 with a signature LNT production – David Budbill’s Judevine. Unfortunately, Vermont’s beloved poet & playwright passed away last September. But as Bent says, the decision to continue with the plan “just felt right… like it would be a great way to honor David.” Budbill’s family agreed, and LNT is honored to have their trust and support.
Bent, who is once again directing, continues “David Budbill’s Judevine paints a highly-detailed portrait of real people in a particular place who are timeless, mythic, larger-than-life. They are unvarnished human beings with glorious strengths and forgivable limitations. To bring them to life is an extremely gratifying challenge –a true labor of love.”
In 2017, the set’s been reimagined creating an evocative, visually stunning environment. It’s thrilling to have 5 of the original LNT cast members back. Yet LNT’s also added an actor - allowing veteran Scott Renzoni to play only “the poet David.” The role of young Vietnam Vet Tommy Stames is now played by Sean Gregory, in his LNT debut. Abby Paige trades the character of Grace for the character of Ann (to go along with her iconic turns as Edith and Lucy); and Ashley Nease joins Judevine to play Grace. Robert Nuner once again inhabits the likes of Arnie, Conrad & Edgar, while Mark Roberts is back as Doug, Jerry, & Roy, and Ben Ash climbs into the skin of the logger Antoine one more time.
“To have this opportunity to appear in David’s magnificent play with LNT cast, crew & Director Kim Bent is be home again,” says Ash.
But LNT is keeping the most important thing the same. The script. Budbill and Bent collaborated on new beginnings to Acts 1 & 2; and inspired by Bent’s staging and the actors’ interpretations, Budbill wrote new lines & little bits (and struck others) while in rehearsal. It’s David’s most recent version, and one uniquely LNT.
He was especially proud of it. On his website (in 2007) David wrote: “This is a particularly excellent production. Kim Bent is the perfect person to direct this play. Kim is a sixth-generation native Vermonter, a farm boy in fact, and as such Kim has an authentic and intuitive knowledge of the real characters that inhabit the gritty and increasingly ignored back roads of the JUDEVINE landscape. He understands the people in JUDEVINE. And the cast understands the characters also, being as they are all Vermonters as well.” The play may even be more relevant today than it was 10 years ago.
“It is as great an honor today as it was ten years ago. Judevine is as real a place to me as any other Vermont town — maybe even more-so, since I knew and cared for the man who built it — and returning to it ignites the same joys and anguish of any homecoming.” – Abby Paige
Newcomer Sean Gregory sums it up: “Judevine is, in many ways, the essence of what it means to be human. It captures the ebb and flow of everyday life that may otherwise pass us by.”
Curtain is: 7:30 pm Thu, Fri & Sat; 2 p.m. Sat & Sun Tickets are: $30 Fri & Sat Evening; $25 Thursday and Matinees. Opening Night Gala Friday, April 21 with a pre-show reception catered by Bon Temps Gourmet & Sweet Mellissa’s: $60 all inclusive and starts at 6:30pm. Special tickets Preview Thu April 20 and Saturday Matinee April 22: $15. Students & seniors (age 65): $5 Off. Rated PG 13 for cussin’ & serious life situations. Lost Nation Theater is wheelchair accessible, and offers an assisted listening system.
For tickets & information: call 802-229-0492, or visit lostnationtheater.org Lost Nation Theater: winner “Best in New England”- Yankee Magazine, and named One of the Best Regional Theaters in America by NYC Drama League is Sponsored by Capitol Copy, City of Montpelier, Eternity, National Life Group, WDEV, The Times Argus, Vermont Mutual, The World, and The Point-FM.