‘The Syringa Tree’ at LNT

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Arts / Sep. 8, 2016 9:23am EDT


The Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier will present “The Syringa Tree,” a drama by Pamela Glen, with performances Sept. 15-25. (Provided) The Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier will present “The Syringa Tree,” a drama by Pamela Glen, with performances Sept. 15-25. (Provided) “You’re not allowed to go in there. You have to have a special paper to go in there.” With these words, six-year-old Elizabeth introduces audiences to her Soweto South Africa world in Pamela Gien’s drama “The Syringa Tree,” presented by Lost Nation Theater Thursday–Sunday, Sep. 15–25 at the Montpelier City Hall Arts Center.

Courtney Wood (last seen in LNT’s “Treasure Island” and “As You Like It”) stars in this true-life tale of love and loyalty in South Africa which explores the difficult journey from apartheid to freedom, as seen through the eyes of six-yearold Elizabeth. A story of a complex, yet abiding, love between two families— one black, one white—and the two children born into their shared household.

Wood plays all 24 roles in the story of these two families’ destinies spanning four generations from early apartheid to present-day free South Africa.

“Syringa Tree is a memory play,” she noted. “I play 24 different people— some old, some young, some black, some white. They have different accents, are different ages— they’re all over the spectrum.”

Wood discovered the play, written by Pamela Gien in 2001, as an undergrad in Doane College’s BFA Acting program. The show became her senior thesis and she’s now been performing it on and off for nearly three years.

For Lost Nation Theater, Founding Artistic Director Kim Allen Bent directs Wood. Wood’s college di- rector, Becky Boesen believes “‘Syringa Tree’ is so relevant now because of the social tone of our own country. In a world full of injustice, we must acknowledge that in the land of ‘the free and the brave,’ we still have work to do. Soweto is far away, but not that far.”

Winner of the OBIE Award for Best Play, and inspired by author Gien’s own life experience, “The Syringa Tree” is full of love, laughter, heartbreak and hope. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. This play is not recommended for children—LNT suggests ages 12 and up.

For tickets and information, call 802-229-0492, or visit lostnationtheater.org.

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