Susan Glaspell’s “The Verge”



The Provincetown Theater presents “The Verge,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Susan Glaspell, co-founder of the Provincetown Players, at the Provincetown Theater from November 11th through 22nd. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.
Susan Glaspell, the Provincetown Players, and THE VERGE:
Creating new theater and new life.

November 15, 2015 after the 3:00pm matinee

Panelists: Linda Ben- Zvi, Glaspell scholar and biographer, directors
Nathan Butera and Frank Vasello, and actor Linda Bradshaw.
Funded by Mass Humanities




Photo by Nathan Butera
Photo by Nathan Butera. Jody O’Neil (Harry) and Cynthia Harrington (Adelaide)
Photo by Nathan Butera. Paul E. Halley (Anthony), Linda Bradshaw (Claire)
Photo by Nathan Butera. Paul E. Halley (Anthony), Linda Bradshaw (Claire)

In this riveting drama, considered by many to be one of Glaspell’s most complex works, Claire Archer (Linda Bradshaw), a noted botanist, is obsessed with creating a totally new form of life, a plant she calls The Breath of Life. The three men in her life, Tom, Dick and Harry, are to varying degrees concerned and bewildered by Claire’s behavior. As Claire is visited by her daughter and older sister, she becomes increasingly agitated and frustrated. Will Claire succeed with her creation? Will she go mad in the process? As her sister Adelaide warns, “there is something not quite sound about making one thing into another thing.”

Directors Nathan Butera and Frank Vasello converge to create a fully realized theatrical experience. “I want the audience to be immersed in Claire’s laboratory,” said co-director Frank Vasello, an installation artist who is turning his eye toward the stage. “There will be olfactory components to this production. Plants and vines will be hanging in space. We will do here what cannot be done in film or television. When the audience leaves, I want them to remember not only the words, but the visuals, smells, sounds, and feelings of an otherworldly environment.”

Nathan Butera, who was drawn to the play because his own mother was a botanist who struggled against the glass ceiling says, “’The Verge’ was written in 1921, one year after the ratification of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. It is a play about a very strong, intelligent woman who seeks to break society’s conventions. In her quest to create new life, Claire is willing to destroy nearly everything and everyone around her.”

The play was written in Provincetown, but has never been performed here. This homecoming production will be, nearly to the day, the 94th anniversary of the play’s debut in New York City at The Provincetown Playhouse.

“’The Verge’ reads as a woman’s descent into madness,” said Butera. “But we have other ideas for Claire. Claire is a little bit Dr. Frankenstein and a little bit Captain Ahab. She’s toying with things that should maybe be left alone. With today’s controversy around genetically modified crops, ‘The Verge’ is an early exploration of messing with God’s design.”