by G. E. Shuman
In writing, or in speaking, extolling the praises of anyone or any thing, too often, or too loudly, can get you into trouble. It is the writer’s and speaker’s greatest fear that boredom with the subject would take place, and that their audience would stop reading, or get up and leave, whichever is the case. That being said, (I normally don’t say ‘that being said,’ because it is a much overused phrase) so, that being said about that, I just have to write again about my love for Montpelier’s Lost Nation Theater. If you haven’t taken my oft’-proffered advice to see one of their productions, I’m here to rattle your cage, once more. You need to get over there. It’s that simple.
Sunday evening my wife and I, along with our oldest daughter and her oldest son, attended the brilliant Gordon Clapp performance of “Robert Frost: This Verse Business” at the theater. I must tell you that the evening was a wonderful one for us. Clapp’s very personal, jovial presentation of this quaint play by A.M. Dolan was just exceptional. It was as if Robert Frost himself was welcoming us into his life, into his heart, and into his great love of poetry. The wisdom of the poet, so thoughtfully presented in this one man play, captivated me, with many revelations of how Frost felt about his own work, especially the thrill and mystery he experienced in taking the theme of a new poem to its completion. The way Mr. Clapp effortlessly filled the shoes (at one point, literally) of my favorite American poet brought tears to my eyes, and joy to my heart. Having taught high school English literature for some years, and having written poetry myself for many more, I felt as if I were in the comfortable presence of a great old friend, as he shared feelings for the written word that I have experienced myself. Bravo, Mr. Clapp!
You know, in our sometimes disconnected, diabolically-digital world, there seems to be fewer and fewer sparks of true cultural brilliance around us. Many venues for experiencing the fire of live human talent, such as concerts, professional plays and literary readings, have been largely replaced by violent videos and quick internet interactions, today. We ‘friend’ and ‘un-friend’ pixelized folks we have never met, without ever vocalizing one word to them; we watch increasingly low quality programming on our high definition TVs. (Now that paragraph was depressing. Sorry.)
That being said, (ha,) I find it important to encourage the craft of those who love quality entertainment and the enrichment of life, and work hard to bring those things to us. For the past twenty-five years Kim Bent and Kathleen Keenan have been doing just that, with great artistic success.
In the past I have referred to their fine theater as a gem, an oasis, and now it seems, to me, a spark. As such, it is one of few that remain around us, and certainly one worth kindling.
I repeat, you need to get over there. Enjoy!
“George’s World,” a new 740 page collection of George’s columns from The World, is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and your favorite bookstore. “The Smoke And Mirrors Effect,” George’s first novel, can be seen at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Happy Reading!