lost nation christmasThe full cast celebrates the good news in The Second Shepard's Play with (clockwise from lower center: Andrew Butterfield, Robert Nuner, Mark Roberts, Ben Ash, Ashley Nease, and musician Susannah Blachly
Are you looking for a new inspiration for the holidays, something to beat the “stick season doldrums”? Lost Nation Theater has the answer! Vermont’s award-winning professional theater presents favorite poet/playwright David Budbill’s wondrous and whacky Two for Christmas in a new version emphasizing enjoyment for the whole family.
This modern alternative to A Christmas Carol performs at LNT’s home within Montpelier City Hall Arts Center Thursday-Saturday, November 29 through December 1 – and then takes the show on the road in partnership with Kingdom County Productions/The Art House and The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.
Two for Christmas is two shows in one. Travel back in time to 1479 England – and end up in Budbill’s mythical Judevine with Antoine, Doug, Arnie and Tommy!
Act One features The Second Shepherds Play – Budbill’s faithful translation of a 15th century miracle play. Medieval miracle plays were known for mixing humor, music, and reverence. Told all in verse, The Second Shepherds’ Play is the story of a poor thief in 1479 Wakefield England who steals a lamb from some shepherds on Christmas Eve, and brings it home to his cantankerous wife. Upon realizing he’s been discovered, the thief’s wife jumps into bed with the lamb and pretends the lamb’s her newborn baby. Then, returning to their flock, the shepherds encounter an Angel.
Act Two is The Pulp Cutters’ Nativity. The same basic story but 500 years later in Judevine! The shepherds are now loggers, a chainsaw replaces the lamb, and the Angel is a waitress in the local diner.
Critics rave: “Budbill has hit pay dirt again! The real thing…absolutely human and totally comical”- Burlington Free Press;
“the Nativity with whacky humor and utter hopefulness” – Hardwick Gazette; “a special gift” – The Times Argus
“Vermont Chainsaw Miracle! The true Christmas spirit evoked with subtlety and grace” - Seven Days
The two one-act plays resonate together, illuminating themes of humanity and justice, and how the hilarious can suddenly become holy. The same actors appear in Act 1 and Act 2. Recreating their roles from LNT’s 2007-08 production of Judevine (hailed as the “quintessential” judevine) are Ben Ash as lovable French Canadian logger Antoine, Robert Nuner as lowest of the low Arnie, and Mark S Roberts as tetchy and tyrannical Doug. Joining them are Andrew Butterfield as Vietnam Vet Tommy, Morgan Irons as Arnie’s wife Gil, and Ashley Nease as the Angel, uh – waitress.
Originally written in 1996 and produced by Centerstage, Lost Nation Theater’s revival, directed by Budbill’s longtime collaborator, international director and Vermont-native Andrew Doe, focuses on the magic and humor inherent in the stories to create a production the entire family can enjoy. Lost Nation Theater, Budbill and Doe last worked together to produce the world professional premiere of A Song for my Father in 2010. It’s a delight to have the team together again for Two For Christmas. Budbill has said he considers his LNT “home theater.” The company has now produced four of his plays.
Additionally, the LNT revival will feature more music than the original script. Acclaimed fiddler and vocalist Susannah Blachly joins the production as musical director, leading the cast in song as well as providing musical transitions between scenes.
Casey Covey (LNT’s technical director and resident designer) creates the scenic & lighting design that embraces theatrical conventions; specialty props designed by visual artist Donna Stafford and sublimely ragged costuming by Cora Fauser.
See it at “the state’s premier producer of Shakespeare & Contemporary Theatrical Fare” – 7 Days. Lost Nation was also just honored with New England Theatre Conference’s “Outstanding Achievement” Award, been named “One of the Best Regional Theater’s in America” by the NYC Drama League, “Best of Vermont” by Vermont Magazine and is the 2009-2012 “Best Theater” People’s Choice winner from The Times Argus and Seven Days.
Two for Christmas: Thursday through Saturday, Nov 29 thru Dec 1 at LNT’s home within Montpelier City Hall Arts Center;
Friday & Saturday Dec 7 & 8 at Hazen Union HS in Hardwick (presented by Kingdom County Productions and the Art House); and culminating Thu. –Sat. Dec 13-15 at Flynn-Space in Burlington presented by the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.
Curtain is: 7:30pm Thursdays-Saturdays; plus 2pm matinees on Saturdays.
Tickets: $20 General admission; $15 Students & seniors: Ages 6—11: $10. (Infants & Toddlers not admitted.)
City Hall Arts Center (39 Main Street Montpelier) is wheel chair accessible. LNT offers assisted listening and large print programs. Service dogs always welcome. Please inform the box office of any special needs when purchasing tickets.
Lost Nation Theater: Sponsored by National Life Group, Capitol Copy, City of Montpelier, WDEV, Vermont Arts Council, The Times Argus, New England Culinary Institute, The Point-FM, Eternity Web, special Two for Christmas support from Centerstage Theatre Company.