This Blessed Plot at Weston Theatre
Vermont Theatre's New Works Program
By: Leanne Jewett - Aug 17, 2013
This Blessed Plot
By Robert Westfield & Marc Wolf
Directed by: Joanna Settle
Scenic Design: Daniel C. Soule, Costume Design: Tilly Grimes, Lighting Design: Jeff Bruckerhoff, Assistant Director: Gabriel J. Rodriguez, Assistant Director: Talya Klein, Production Stage Manager: Bekah Wachenfeld
Cast: Marc Wolf (The Player)
The Weston Theatre
August 15–September 1
Most artists will tell you that works of art evolve. Some thought or image sparks an idea that grows, changing as it develops. The maturation of the piece gives rise to new ideas, often altering the initial impulse beyond recognition.
The creation of a play generally follows the same meandering path to completion, with one important distinction: a play is not, like most other forms of art, the creation of a solitary artist. It is a collaboration of a writer or writers, a director, actors, and a production team.
It's not often that a person has the opportunity to be witness to and actually a part of the development of a work of art, but right now that opportunity exists as part of the New Works Program at the Weston Theatre in Weston, Vermont.
This Blessed Plot is about the battle between famed producer and founder of New York's Public Theater, Joseph Papp, who in 1957 wanted to bring free Shakespeare to Central Park, and the legendary New York "master builder," Robert Moses, who wanted people to be charged for the performances. It was a battle of wills between two men, each of whom possessed a powerful personality, and each of whom had a strong sense of the value and function of Public Space.
Obie-winning actor Marc Wolf plays Joseph Papp, Robert Moses, the Biblical Moses, and more than a dozen other characters in this one-man play.
Writers Robert Westfield and Marc Wolf have worked on this show in residency at Mabou Mines, a experimental theater collective in New York City, and at an artists' retreat sponsored by the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company in the summer of 2011. They also took part in the New York Theatre Workshop Annual Usual Suspects Summer Residency at Dartmouth College in 2012. This current incarnation, at Weston's Second Stage at the Weston Rod and Gun Club, is a full workshop-style series of performances that will evolve throughout its run. The audience reactions and feedback will aid the writers and director, Joanna Settle, to shape various aspects of the play—lines might be altered, removed, or moved, pace and blocking can be changed—resulting in the closing night audience seeing a different version than the opening night audience saw.
In an interview earlier this season, Steve Stettler, one of the Weston's Producing Directors, described the role of the audience in this type of pre-premier production, "The audience will be part of something that is still finding itself. Their role is quite simply and wonderfully to do what they do in any theater experience, just to be there and engage with it."
One of the delights of the art of theater, as in any live performance art, is its ephemeral quality; the realization that the audience is witness to an event that is as unique and transitory as existence itself. The Weston's presentation of This Blessed Plot, offers theater-goers the opportunity, not only to witness such an event, but to be a participant.