By Danielle Wirsansky
Moving from Florida to Vermont was a big change. As I packed my bags for the migration north, I was shocked to discover that I owned zero pairs of waterproof boots, one winter-ish coat, and only two pairs of long pants. Who knew you would need more?
It was daunting.
However, what made the decision to move to Montpelier so easy and exciting—despite snow in April—was the opportunity to work with Lost Nation Theater (LNT). I was ecstatic to accept the newly created position of associate managing director with the theater for several reasons.
The first was the opportunity to work with one of the best regional theaters in the country. In addition to the artists working with LNT, each season the theater creates incredibly well-thought-out and diverse programming. Its mission (particularly breaking boundaries, taking dramatic risks, and courageously making things happen), speaks deeply to my own personal mission as a theater maker.
The productions in the 2019 season are no exception.
Beginning with The Turn of the Screw (April 25–May 12), I was already excited that it is an adaptation of a classic tale made for the stage. When I finally read the script, I was so impressed by the way that the playwright handled the multitude of characters, distilling them all down so that the entire story could be performed by only two actors, while maintaining the tension needed to tell a true ghost story. Now meeting the team making it happen, I know we’re in good hands.
Next on the schedule is The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged), which honestly made me laugh out loud—even as I was only reading the script. I can’t wait to see the many shenanigans that brought me to tears actually acted out on stage. It is truly a complete history of comedy, so if you like funny things, this show is sure to appeal to you. It runs May 25–June 16.
Before starting at LNT, I was busy finishing up a master’s degree in history, with a focus on World War II and the Holocaust. So, you can only imagine how excited I was to learn that Cabaret would be in our season, (July 11–28). This dazzling show takes place in 1920s Germany, during Hitler’s rise to power, and packs a political punch that is just as timely and relevant now as it was when Kander and Ebb’s Tony-winning musical was first produced.
In college, I got dual degrees in theater and English so it’s likely no surprise I am a huge Shakespeare nerd. I certainly nerded out when I discovered that Shakespeare’s Will will be running September 5–15. A one-woman show, audiences get the details of Shakespeare’s life from an infamous figure in his life—his wife, Anne Hathaway. She finally gets the last word!
That literature geek inside of me went into overdrive when I saw that in addition to Shakespeare, LNT would also be mounting Pride and Prejudice. This iconic story is particularly delightful in Kate Hamill’s stage adaptation, and audience members lucky enough to catch a performance of it (Oct 3–20) will quickly understand why this story has stood the test of time.
As if LNT’s phenomenal season and high-quality of work were not enough, I was also incredibly impressed by the theater’s commitment to community with all of its outreach, collaborations, special events, and education work.
The season is about to begin and to celebrate, we are hosting two events: The Kick-Off Cabaret (April 18) and the Opening Gala (April 26). The first features such musicians as Rick and the Ramblers (with Taryn Noelle), Dana and Susan Robinson, and Mark LeGrand; while the Gala will feature bestselling Vermont author, Chris Bohjalian, whom I have been a big fan of since reading his Sandcastle Girls in 2015.
I am so excited to become part of the LNT family and a member of the Montpelier community. I can’t wait to share what we cook up next. Right now, I know exactly where I belong—even if there is more snow than I am used to.