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Vermont Summer Theater: An Opportunity of a Lifetime

by Linda Warner

masksVermont summer theater is celebrating through August into September. Let me first tempt you with titles. There’s Dorset Theater’s The Whore and Mr. Pope by Michael Cristofer (hurry it ends 8/11), and Ira Levin’s Deathtrap (runs until 9/1). Want to be tickled by Weston’s musicals? Fiddler on the Roof delights as always (until 8/25),and newcomer Pregnancy Pact gives musical twist to an unusual adventure of teenage girls!

What’s been going on so far this summer? Well, there’s been marvelous fun with Opportunity of a Lifetime by Jeanne Beckwith presented by Moxie Productions!

Take one part every day and one part fantastical. Blend parlor room humor with sci-fi’s uncanny. Add a touch of utter absurdity to a measure of social conscience. Season with rich servings of wonderful on-stage eccentricity. Stir with sensitive directing (Monica Callan’s)and accentuate with tasteful crew: Voilà! Jeanne Beckwith’s The Opportunity of a Lifetime, the 2011 Vermont Contemporary Playwrights Forum Award Winner.

Curious about the eccentric Beckwith concoction? Here’s a taste. The one part everyday has convincingly unsuspecting applicant Ted (Joe Meade) interview for the perfect position. Blend the peculiar wit of lawyerly interviewer Cook (Clarke Jordan, with leaping bushy eyebrows). Add the antics of clones, strange Alicia and wild, pregnant Karen (one and the same Claire Demarais). Add the fine touch of tea serving Mavis (Mary Scripps), and a Mad Hatter’s tea seems unfolding. Tweak with scattered laboratory scientist (Bob Carmondy) and pepper with hard spice accountant Archer(Rob Donalson), and you have a wonderfully quirky, well in sync cast presenting the playfully bizarre plot that leads applicant Ted to discover he’s a clone (or is he?).

The end leaves us gazing at Ted, Karen (or is it Alicia), and baby clone. The lights brighten heralding what? A new day? A better day? An ominous day? Doomsday?

Now that Beckwith and company have treated their audiences to a marvelous summer production, we may ponder when enjoying Vermont’s bountiful August theater productions: might we be sitting next to a well made clone?

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