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The Arts

Guilford Center Stage prepares for 2018 season

GUILFORD—“Anthologies” will be the theme in 2018 at Guilford Center Stage.

The year also features a transition of the former Grange building to Broad Brook Community Center, with the first phase of renovations planned.

The Broad Brook Grange organization will continue to occupy the building, presenting its familiar lineup with the Sugar on Snow Supper, Mother’s Day Brunch, and Guilford Center Stage productions.

For 2018, with renovations beginning in the summer, only the spring theater production will be in the building.

The early May production will be the modern American classic, Spoon River Anthology, directed by Marvin Shedd. Familiar to generations as a book of monologues by Chicago lawyer Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River has often been staged.

Playwright Michael Nethercott, of Guilford, has prepared a new stage adaptation of the work for this production, the third Guilford Center Stage show with a script by Nethercott, whose works have included premieres of two one-acts and a full-length play in past seasons.

Shedd, of Bernardston, Mass., has appeared on stage in all five of the company’s previous productions. Don McLean is producer, and Sue Shedd will be stage manager.

Spoon River Anthology was an immediate sensation when first published in 1915. It is a collection of more than 200 free-verse epitaphs — distilled by author Nethercott into a selection of the most vital poems — spoken from the cemetery of the town of Spoon River.

The work, often quite dark, was noted for its starkly realistic revelations of small-town Midwestern life. It is a touchstone of modern American literature, which set the tone for much of the writing of the 20th century.

In August, Center Stage will again collaborate with Guilford Free Library on Stage and Stream, a weeklong library and theater day camp, using both the library building and the adjacent Guilford Center Meeting House.

The year will conclude with a November revival of Guilford poet Verandah Porche’s 2011 play for voices, Broad Brook Anthology.

The work, based on the recollections of Guilford elders, played to two full houses during the Guilford 250th celebration and will again be performed at Guilford Center Meeting House, produced in cooperation with Monteverdi Artists Collaborative.

Guilford Center Stage was founded by Broad Brook Grange in 2015 to use the small proscenium stage at the 1896 Grange Hall, now about to undergo major renovation as Broad Brook Community Center.

Plays with a connection to the venue, to Guilford, and to the region have formed the core of the theater company’s mission. Spoon River, though set further west, easily transposes to the rural Vermont of a century ago, and brings the connection of the adaptation by a Guilford author.

For the spring production, there will be two sessions of auditions: Saturday, Feb. 24, from 2 to 5 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Community Center in Guilford.

For more information call 802-257-1961. Broad Brook Community Center is at 3940 Guilford Ctr. Rd., 4 miles west of the Guilford Country Store.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #446 (Wednesday, February 14, 2018). This story appeared on page B3.

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