JUDEVINE: A Play in Two Acts


Using an acting ensemble of variable size, from six to a dozen or more, and through a series of interrelated scenes the ensemble creates 24 characters in a town called Judevine, a poor, rural mountain town in northern Vermont, which is a kind of Third World country within the boundaries of the United States where, like so many Third World countries, there is incredible physical beauty, great suffering and hardship and a tenacious and indomitable will to survive.

JUDEVINE is a parade of lives seen singly and in relation to others: Raymond and Ann, who in their 50 years together have become a mythic vision of love and warmth and cooperation; Grace, whose tortured and lonely life explodes into bitterness, violence, jealousy and finally into madness; teenager Carol Hopper, middle-aged Conrad and the Vietnam vet, Tommy, who all in their isolation withdraw into themselves; Lucy, who has literally lost her mind, and Jerry who loves and protects her; Alice who is “half man, half woman” and who “embraces other people’s lives,” Laura and Edgar, who pass their ordered, proper and restrained days while bursting with repressed passion for each other; and Antoine, the bad talking saint, the irrepressible, effusive, loquacious and ebullient lover of women and all the rest of life. These and many others populate the town and the life of JUDEVINE and are brought to the stage by David, the poet, who is the narrator of this play and who observes all these others from his own isolated yet involved and loving distance.

Through a collection of lyrically beautiful and compelling portraits of ordinary people, by turns raucous and bawdy, delicate and painful, intensely funny, loving and angry, the characters in JUDEVINE reveal to us the survival strength in the oppressed and hurt.

The human parade in this specific and particular and forgotten place becomes the universal human parade itself, and ultimately, JUDEVINE becomes an intensely passionate and caring song of praise celebrating human nature.

Minimal set, properties and costumes. The sound track is created live and on stage by the acting ensemble. Simple lighting.

JUDEVINE-IN TWO ACTS is available in NEW AMERICAN PLAYS: 2, edited with an introduction by Peter Filichia, Heinemann Educational Books, Inc., 361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3959







Staged reading at The Tiny Theatre, Poultney, VT, Green Mountain College, April 23
Brian Rickel’s One Man Judevine: The Vine Theatre at the Bernardo Winery,
Rancho Bernardo, CA, April 13 & 14
Brian Rickel’s One Man Judevine: Grand Central Arts Center, Santa Ana, CA,
April 8 & 9
Brian Rickel’s One Man Judevine: CSU Fullerton, Fullerton, CA, May 19 & 20


The Palace Players, The Palace Theater, Hamilton, NY, October 15 & 16

Actor’s Bridge Ensemble Theatre, Nashville, TN, February 5, 6, 7 and 11, 12, 13, 14


Portland Community College Theatre, Portland, OR, Nov 13, 14, 19–11 a.m. matinee, 20, 21, 22–2 p.m. matinee


Middlebury Town Hall Theatre, Middlebury, VT, October 16, 17, 18

Paramount Theatre, Rutland, VT, October 10 & 11

Lost Nation Theatre, Montpelier, VT, September 19 – Oct 5

Old Castle Theatre, Bennington, VT, April 12, Benefit Reading, author in cast

William and Mary Theatre, Williamsburg, VA, March 27, 28, 29


Lost Nation Theatre, Montpelier, VT, April 19-May 13

Dorset Playhouse, Dorset, VT, March 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11



Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, Lincoln, NE, October 5-14

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School performs a one-act version of JUDEVINE at Brookline High School, Brookline, MA, March 2

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School performs a one-act version of JUDEVINE at Brookline High School, Brookline, MA, March 4



Mainstage Theatre of New England College, The Open Door Theatre, Henniker, NH, September 28-October 1

Mainstage Theatre of New England College, The Open Door Theatre, Henniker, NH, June 30-July 3



Connecticut Repertory Theatre (at the University of Connecticut), Storrs, CT, October 28-November 7

Old Castle Theatre Company, Bennington, VT, June 11-20

A Reading of JUDEVINE: A PLAY IN ONE ACT, Strafford Town House, Strafford, VT, June 5



Evergreen Players at Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival, Fort Collins, CO, June 27-30

Harvard University, Harvard-Radcliffe Drama Club, Cambridge, MA, April 25-27

The Evergreen Players at Center/Stage, Evergreen, CO, March 15-17

Greendale High School, (High School Version), Greendale, WI, January 4 & 5



Wellesley High School, (excerpts), Wellesley, MA, February 8, 9 & March 3



Kieth Country Day School, Rockford, IL, Oct 28-30



Summer Repretory Theatre, Santa Rosa, CA, June 26-August 1, 1998

Santa Fe Community College, Gainsville, FL, April 2-11, 1998

Wayward Theatre Company, Tulsa, OK, January 1-11, 1998



Yale University, New Haven, CT, October 24-November 2, 1996

Old Castle Theatre Company: Judevine: In Four Acts, Premier, Bennington, VT, October 4-26, 1996

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, January 28 -February 11, 1996



Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, Palos Hills, IL, November 1995

ArtRise Theatre, South San Francisco, CA, September 8-23, 1995

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, March 23, 24, 25, 1995



Poet’s Theatre of Cambridge, Boston, MA, December 1-18, 1994

Twice Struck By Lightning Theatre, Santa Cruz, CA, August 5-28, 1994

Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest, IL, May 1994

Luther College, Decorah, IA, 11-16 March, 1994

American Inside Theatre, Genesee Depot, WI, March 9-27, 1994

New American Theatre, Rockford, IL, February 1994

Thomas Jefferson High School, (excerpts) Council Bluffs, IA, 22 January & 4 February 1994



New England College, Henniker, NH, November 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 1993

Equity Library Theatre, Chicago, IL, August 4-29 and Septemer 16-October 10 1993



Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, November 11-21, 1992

Silk Road Theatre Company, The Matrix Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, March 12-?-May 3, 1992

Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Little Rock, AR, January 16, 17, 18, 1992



Northeastern State University, Talequah, OK, October 10,11,12, 1991 Icefire Performance Group, Vermont Tour, August 27-September 15, 1991

Perseverance Theatre, Juneau, AK, April 25-May 15, 1991



Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, TX, October 25, 26, 27 and November 1, 1990

The Theatre Project, Brunswick, ME, August 9-25, 1990

American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco, CA, January 10-February 24, l990



The Old Castle Theatre Company, Bennington, VT, October 10-28, l989

Arena Stage, Washington, DC, May 21, l989, Staged Reading

Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, FL, New Plays Festival, May 14, l989 (two ?shows), Staged Reading

The Western Stage, Salinas, CA, January 13, 14, 15, and February 10 and 11, l989



Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota, FL, December 11,1988, Staged Reading

The Old Castle Theatre Company, Bennington, VT, April 12-30, l988

The Gloucester Stage, Gloucester, MA, March 6, l988, Staged Reading



Vermont Repertory Theatre, Stowe Playhouse, Stowe, VT, October 16 and 17 and in Winooski, VT, October 21 through 24, Held Over, October 28 through 31, 1987

The Western Stage, Salinas, CA, June 11, 12, 19, July 26, and August 14 and 25, l987

The Performance Place at the Elizabeth Peabody House, Somerville, MA, May 2 and 3, l987, Staged Reading

The Boston Athenaeum, Boston, MA, April 5, l987, Staged Reading



Vermont Repertory Theatre, Winooski, VT, Vermont-New Hampshire Tour, September10-28, l986

Vermont Repertory Theatre, Winooski, VT, January 24-February 15, l986



McCarter Theatre, Stage Two, Princeton, New Jersey, January 17-29, l984



McCarter Theatre, Princeton, New Jersey, Staged reading, as part of the annual Playwrights-at-McCarter Series, November 3, 1980





Wrenchingly real, fiercely emotional and unexpectedly funny, this is a show that pierces the heart and engages the senses, growing in intensity as it draws you into the lives and battered fortunes of an entire community. Budbill’s characters are unusually rich and three dimensional. And he offers profound insights into the secret lives and overt eccentricities of the inhabitants of a modern rural community where unemployment, child abuse and loneliness coexist with love, friendship and the unmatched beauty of the natural world.

Chicago Sun Times

At once tough and tender, [JUDEVINE] is not afraid to tell hard stories with a warm heart.

The Boston Globe

One of the on-stage inhabitants of the fictional town of Judevine calls it the “ugliest town in Northern Vermont.” Well, that may be–but out of its life has come a most beautiful, exquisite piece of theatre….Budbill strokes and brushes this dramatic story-telling with rare honesty, affection and grace–and with language so precise and descriptive you will know immediately you’re soul-deep in something extraordinary.

Los Angeles Daily News

Playwright Budbill has a thoughtfully keen and gut grabbing sense of what makes individuals tick, by themselves, in couples and in groups.

Herald News
Passaic, New Jersey

What makes JUDEVINE so memorable is not just the intensity of its emotions, the depth of its feeling, the absence of cloying sentimentality, the hearty humor–and this play is loaded with humor–but also the prodigious musicality with which it has been put together…[an] extraordinary new play…a play that should find as wide an audience as possible. Regional theatre literary managers take note!…A highly theatrical and memorable evening of theater that dignifies both the art Budbill serves and the people–his own people–who nourish his artistic and social vision.

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

JUDEVINE is a beautifully tender combination of theatre and poetry. Budbill’s play presents us with a vision of ourselves.

Sarasota Herald Tribune
Sarasota, Florida

JUDEVINE…glows with a contagious compassion.

Chicago Tribune

Go see JUDEVINE. It’s wonderful….David Budbill’s script is rich and believable, full of sass and heartbreak.

The Juneau Empire
Juneau, Alaska

JUDEVINE is a compilation of 20 years of poetry by Budbill describing a backwoods village in present day Vermont, and because the play is intimate glimpses of the unfathomable mystery of humanity…analogies are made with such similar plays as Under Milkwood, Spoon River Anthology and, of course, Our Town. However these comparisons are ridiculous because JUDEVINE is a memorable theatre work that is anything but cutesy, folksy and bucolic. It is rather a searing view of a rural town in today’s America.

Bay Area/San Francisco

. . . an astonishing variety of characters. We come to care deeply about them and to see the dignity inherent in the humblest of human beings.

The Chicago Reader

JUDEVINE as a poem-play sweeps the imagination across paths of folk the likes of which are rarely seen let alone heard from….Ultimately the show is a beautiful song of praise, celebrating human nature.

Trenton, New Jersey

JUDEVINE achieves that rare phenomenon, acclaim from the critics along with appreciation from the people. What a joy to see an audience of 400 weeping and laughing and squirming…what satisfaction to hear a dramatic presentation in which each word is so well considered, each thought so cleanly limned, each line so deeply true–a presentation, in short, in which the actors speak poetry…in which the characters speak, although roughly and comfortably, with precision and grace….The success of JUDEVINE is a tribute to the power of truth, affirming that when audiences see and hear the truth, they will recognize it and respond to it.

The White River Valley Herald
Randolph, Vermont

It’s easy to think of JUDEVINE as a late-20th century variation on Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” Easy, but wrong. Budbill’s work is closer in purpose and effect to William Faulkner–both use a small distinct place to examine the world….Budbill has populated his JUDEVINE with intensely real people.

Tulsa World
Tulsa, Oklahoma

The script is innovative, funny, likable…intelligent, different and articulate…a spirited new work. JUDEVINE…deserves the highest praise.

The Home News
New Brunswick, New Jersey

Those who scoff at the thought of experimental theatre should go see–and hear–JUDEVINE. It is so superbly written and so beautifully performed that this critic resented having to take notes instead of sitting back–no, sitting forward–and being transported to the mountains of Vermont.

The Princeton Packet
Princeton, New Jersey

David Budbill’s intriguing JUDEVINE…is a warm and wistful, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious glimpse at small town life.

Little Rock, Arkansas

This humane celebration and haunting examination of tangled souls provides a glimpse into forgotten lives.

Village View
Los Angeles, California

Haunting beauty mixed with broad comedy exuberantly expressed…the shortest two hours of uncontrollable entertainment imaginable.

The Post Star
Glens Falls, New York

[In] JUDEVINE…there are repeated small jolts of surprise, pain, affection, delight–you name it–that come out of the unpredictability of carefully observed, precisely detailed characters…the energy, pain and joy of the place swells and courses through them….from tender sadness to raunchy gut-busting humor.

The Vermont Vanguard Press
Burlington, Vermont

Budbill leaps deftly between pathos and comedy, never lingering in sentimentality; he keeps his edges hard….JUDEVINE is a lyrical, funny, earthy work, full of sweetness and darkness, about the joys and troubles of life.

The Bennington Banner
Bennington, Vermont

Mingling the sweetness of Thornton Wilder, the raunchiness of Lenny Bruce, and the format of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. JUDEVINE has earned tremendous acclaim.

New England Monthly

Budbill is a superb storyteller with a fine sensitivity and a wonderful way with words….The people of Judevine are people like the rest of us: ordinary, imperfect, unique….JUDEVINE flows with power and grace.

The Times Union
Albany, New York

Fictional JUDEVINE may be rooted in Vermont, but it represents much of forgotten America….Budbill is a marvelous storyteller and ACT’s nine actors create 20 vivid, distinctive characters….JUDEVINE displays ACT’s strength, depth and ingenuity better than any show this season.

The Tribune
Oakland, California

JUDEVINE is a fine, moving, intriguing play…written in a rough free verse crowded with fine images….JUDEVINE reminds you that the glory of theatre is not story or scene–it is the human voice.

Portland Press Herald
Portland, Maine

Budbill has fashioned his poems about the little town into an uncommonly beautiful play….In Budbill’s Vermont, marked by the cyclical seasons, everything changes. Against the resilience of nature, he tells of the impermanent humankind….The pleasures of Budbill’s JUDEVINE meanwhile are likely to last awhile.

The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento, California