GUILFORD STAGE DEBUTS WITH VERMONT COMEDY
Tourists Accommodated, a 1932 comedy by Vermont author Dorothy Canfield Fisher, will be performed Friday, October 9, and Saturday, October 10 at Broad Brook Grange in Guilford. Both shows are at 7:00 pm and by general admission of $9 at the door.
The play is the inaugural production of newly-formed Guilford Center Stage, sponsored by the Grange to encourage the use of its stage. The goal of the project’s founders, Laura Lawson Tucker and Don McLean — who directs this production — is to perform plays which would likely not otherwise be staged in the area: works related to the Guilford area and to Vermont, neglected and new works, and pieces which fit the small, but charming venue.
Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958) is one of Vermont’s most significant authors. She received a Doctorate, unusual for a woman in 1904, wrote many novels and nonfiction works, and is responsible for the introduction of the Montessori method to the U.S. She was a champion of racial equality, equal rights for women, and, above all, of education. The premise of Tourists Accommodated is that Lucy, played by Ragan Anderson of Guilford, is a high school graduate who cannot afford the tuition to continue her education, and thus her mother — played by Guilford’s Nancy Detra — agrees to take in tourists in an early version of the B&B.
When Fisher was still a young woman, she inherited her great-grandfather’s farm in Arlington, Vermont, and later moved there permanently. She was a nationally-prominent author, but also enjoyed being part of everyday life in her town. It was at a regular gathering of her ladies’ sewing circle that the talk turned to the fact that some farm families in that Depression era were earning extra income by taking in tourists for overnight lodging and breakfast. As amusing stories were reported, someone remarked that “We ought to make a play out of all this.” So Fisher drafted the play and assembled townspeople to help polish this broad comedy.
The cast of 22 from Guilford and other nearby towns includes, in addition to Detra and Anderson, playing members of the host farm family: William Stearns, Emmett Hoyer, Garret Barry-Stoughton, Emily Muller, Marie Lee and Maryann Parrott. Then come the tourists: Joel Kaemmerlen, Lisa Barry, Jan Symons, Susan Shedd, Evelyn McLean, Nancy Jane Coutts, Robert Tucker, Tenzin Mathes, Rich Cianflone, Genevieve Redmond, Marvin Shedd, Andrew Loughney, Jenna Barry-Stoughton, and Ian Hefele.
Providing design and other elements of the production are Lynn Symons, Cal Heile, Joan Peters, Jess Rodrigues and Maria Pugnetti.
The performance is up a good flight of stairs. There are no advance tickets or reservations. Plan to arrive early for a good seat. Broad Brook Grange is at 3940 Guilford Center Road, 4 miles west of the Country Store.