Selected Stories

by

Rowland E. Robinson

Edited

by

David Budbill

with an Introduction by

Hayden Carruth

* * *

University Press of New England

A Hardscrabble Classic

1995

5.5 x 8.5, 256 pages

hardbound

ISBN: 0-87451-718-4

University Press of New England/Hardscrabble Books:

http://www.dartmouth.edu/acad-inst/upne/hs1.html

* * *

From their initial publication in 1887 until fading from the popular consciousness in the 1930s, Rowland Robinson’s enormously popular stories were a staple of Vermont households and classrooms. His tales were treasured as honest and accurate portraits of the life, times and speech of pre-Civil War Vermont. In recent years Robinson has been an inspiration to writers such as Hayden Carruth, David Budbill, Howard Frank Mosher and Annie Proulx.

 

This Hardscrabble edition of DANVIS TALES presents the best of Robinson’s original six volumes and reestablishes Rowland Robinson (1833 -1900) as a serious and thoughtful, funny and loving chronicler of people’s lives and the natural world.

 

DANVIS TALES creates an engaging story of intertwined lives. There’s Sam Lovel who would rather be in the woods hunting fox than tending to the farm, and whose wild wanderings are only slightly domesticated by Hudlah Purrington the woman he woos and marries. There is Uncle Lisha Peggs, the sometime cobbler, whose shop is the stage for serious story telling. There is Pelatiah Gove, who, jilted in love, turns to rum, but is saved from a life of alcoholism through the tough and loving care of Uncle Lisha. And there is the outrageous and wonderful French-Canadian butcher of the English language, Antoine Bassette, the biggest and best liar in a pack of liars.

 

The people of Danvis are inextricably bound to the natural world. In their often thoughtless and sometimes wanton misuse of nature they give us a paradigm for ourselves. Robinson, one of America’s first conservationists, saw clearly the coming ecological crisis and warned that “He who loses all love for our common mother is, indeed, a wretched being, poorer than the beasts.”

 

With graceful and melodic prose, and an ability to write about the natural world with unsurpassed precision and detail, Rowland Robinson fashions an elegiac tribute to a complex and real people and a beautiful and threatened landscape.


 

Robinson, a well-loved voice of 19th-Century Vermont, is rescued here from obscurity by poet/playwright Budbill in this intriguing collection. . . .

 

Kirkus Reviews


 

David Budbill’s thoughtfully and meticulously edited collection of Robinson’s work . . . conveys the rhapsodic poetry of his nature writing, his uncanny ear for the way people truly spoke along the spine of the Green Mountains, and the unfailing love Robinson felt for the rapidly disappearing Vermont wilderness.

 

Chris Bohjalian

Vermont Life Magazine


 

[Robinson’s] contribution . . . is crucial to us, because it tells us what we as Americans and New Englanders are: our character, our heritage, our predicament.

from the Introduction by Hayden Carruth


This fascinating volume is long overdue. David Budbill’s careful editing and insightful introduction brings the core of Robinson’s best writing back to us in an intelligent, manageable edition. Hayden Carruth’s brilliant essay places Robinson in his 19th century context and points out his literary significance, as well as his links to Artemus Ward, Mark Twain, and –stunning insight–Thomas Hardy!

Thomas Slayton, Editor, Vermont Life


 

 

I find [Robinson] more exciting than Thoreau, and in reproduction of dialect more adroit than Thomas hardy . . . . If a great many of us hadn’t been literary snobs for the past 50 years, we would have canonized this simple man many moons ago.

John Farrar, late of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, writing in 1934


 

 

Documents, with keenness, subtlety, and compassion, the lifestyles and people who lived and worked in Vermont. His evocative descriptions of nature are balanced by a rollicking, heavily apostrophized dialect that captures the quirky nature of New England speech and the characters who mouth it.

Seven Days


 

There is a unique joy in championing the rediscovery of a forgotten writer. It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I welcome you to Danvis and to the lives of the people in this particular place on the western slopes of the Green Mountains and down into the broad valley that stretches to he shores of Lake Champlain, this particular place fully real yet also fully within the imagination of Rowland E. Robinson.

from the Editor’s Preface by David Budbill

Read More...

by

Mildred Walker

With an Introduction

by

David Budbill

 

 

* * *

Bison Books

University of Nebraska Press

1996

5.25 x 8, 269 pages

paperback

ISBN: 0-8032-9782-3

University of Nebraska Press

http://nebraskapress.unl.edu/searchmain.html

search: “walker”

* * *

Dr. Norton’s Wife was praised for its quiet honesty and artistic integrity when it was first published in 1938. It stands up firmly as a portrait of a marriage subjected to the strain of unexpected invalidism. As a doctor’s wife, Sue Norton is no stranger to matters of life and death. But medical shoptalk screens her from the realities of illness until she is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Never clinical, Walker, herself the wife of a doctor, accurately describes the disease’s progress and the adjustments necessary to cope with it. The result is a tender story of “the marriage of true minds.”


 

 

An honest, straightforward little novel. . . . The author has a precise feeling for the atmosphere, the personalities, and the intrigues of a small medical college.”

The New Yorker


 

[A] disturbing book. . . . For those who are interested in the world of unuttered thoughts, Dr. Norton’s Wife will prove an absorbing study.

 

The New York Times.

Read More...

A SONG FOR MY FATHER

a new play

by

David Budbill

SYNOPSIS OF THE PLAY

A SONG FOR MY FATHER is a memory play inside the mind and heart of Randy Wolf, Frank Wolf’s son. It takes place in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1915 to 1998.

Act I begins shortly after Frank has entered a nursing home. Then through a series of scenes and conversations which are flashbacks to before Randy’s mother, Ruth, died, to when Randy was in college, to Randy’s early childhood, and including an actual knockdown, drag-out fight at the end of Act I, Frank and Randy confront the past, how irritable and angry they are with each other and how much they love each other.

Act II begins with Randy’s visit to meet his father’s new bride, Ivy. The remainder of Act II takes place in a nursing home.

A SONG FOR MY FATHER is about growing old and dying, Frank’s loneliness and Randy’s guilt. It’s about men and women, the meaning of marriage, class-consciousness in America and memory.

A SONG FOR MY FATHER is about a father and son and about the attachments and conflicts between them and how time and education separate them.

Running time for A SONG FOR MY FATHER is about 50 minutes for Act I and about 45 minutes for Act II.

*  *  *  *  *

*  *  *  *  *

Excerpts from Reviews

David Budbill’s new play A Song for My Father is a stunner, a powerful work that’s both a painful analysis of and a loving elegy for a flawed patriarch. . . It’s also such a strong play because it never takes a cheap shot at honesty even as the father and son are taking cheap shots at each other. . . A Song for My Father is a heavy play broken by tremendous touches of humor. . . Budbill has created a work that aspires to classic heights while staying true to his own life and, in many ways, the lives of everyone.

Brent Hallenbeck
The Burlington (VT) Free Press
April 24, 2010

 

Budbill’s somewhat autobiographical story of his relationship with his father during the latter’s final years is powerful not only for its authenticity but for its universality. . . . Although there are tough moments in this intense drama, there’s plenty of humor. Particularly funny – and realistic – are Frank’s sexual overtures to the buxom nurse in his nursing home. There is also plenty of humor as we see ourselves in this psychologically accurate drama. . . . David Budbill’s A Song for My Father is dramatic theater at its best.

Jim Lowe
The Sunday Barre (VT) Times Argus/Rutland (VT) Herald
April 25, 2010

 

Budbill weaves humor into the convincing dialogue, so the net effect of this drama is far from depressing but curiously hopeful . . . . A Song for My Father is a preview of what we all will experience sooner or later, if we haven’t already, and it well embodies one of the primary functions of theatre in particular and art in general, which is to create a mirror in which we can see ourselves more clearly.

David K.Rodgers
The Hardwick (VT) Gazette
April 28, 2010

 

David Budbill’s new play is brilliant and powerful and explores areas within difficult relationships that people often don’t want to explore. The play is a tribute in a way, but it’s not a comfortable thing to watch. . . . Don’t go to see A Song for My Fatherif you are looking for an evening of light or mindless entertainment. You will leave the theatre emotionally drained and yet weirdly hopeful and wanting to talk to your father or your son, or anyone else in your life remotely resembling a family member.

 Bethany Dunbar
The Chronicle (Barton, VT)
April 28, 2010

 

Budbill has far too much class and appreciation for reality to sugarcoat an ending, but he also avoids gratuitous grief. It was clear just by listening to those around me that the play had achieved precisely what the playwright wanted, “to release powerful feelings of sadness, foreboding and grief and in the process, like the blues, make you feel better, refreshed, lighter, even happier.” The standing ovation and demand for a second curtain call is testimony to the play, the players, and the production team who have given central Vermont a show, which falls into the rare category of “must see” theater.

 Charlie McMeekin
The Herald of Randolph (VT)
April 29, 2010

 

If you’re interested in powerful, thoughtful acting, and a heart-rending story that tackles life’s biggest questions head-on, go. . . . David Budbill’s new play isn’t light, happy fare. It’s serious theater. It will prompt big thoughts. . . . Budbill masterfully succeeds in connecting his characters’ lives with the big questions of our time: Jobs and the environment, unemployment and the rage of the increasingly alienated American worker. . . . The play is clearly Budbill’s paean to his father, but it’s also a gift of self-contemplation from the playwright-poet-philosopher to the rest of us.

 Biddle Duke
Stowe (VT) Reporter
May 6, 2010

Lost Nation Theater’s presentation of David Budbill’s play, A Song for My Father, is not about pleasure or entertainment. It’s a work of art whose primary concern is with truth–the truth unflinchingly told about the reality of a son’s painfully unfulfilled relationship with his father . . . a powerful play about a son’s struggle to come to terms with himself and his father.

 Tom Mulholland
The Bridge (Montpelier, VT)
May 6, 2010

*  *  *  *  *

THEATREGOERS COMMENTS ON 
A SONG FOR MY FATHER

That is a strong, funny, biting, very human play! Way up the ladder. Thomas Wolfe was wrong.

Peter Miller

 

Amazing . . . you speak the truth, right into my heart, deep down inside, places I have been, places I am, and some places I hope to never be!

Nick DeFriez

 

I was so moved by your play. At times, art transforms the very personal into a truth intensely personal to others. For me your play was a fearless work of art. . . . I’m grateful for your courage in writing it, and honored to have seen it.

Amy Rahn

 

Thank you for the gift of your writing and your capacity and generosity in putting such a difficult yet (often) common subject into honest words and acts.

Marion Stegner

 

I broke into tears with the last few words, but left with that honest purged feeling–not to be confused with the feeling of being a sucker to bathos. . . . I’ve recommended your play to all my friends. There is something in it for everyone.

Stephanie Herrick

The totally amazing thing about last night is that even though moments were so intense as to be physically daunting from a second-row vantage point; even though tears flowed not once but twice; even though the ending connected me to my own pain as one of my dearest friends who is being taken from me and her many loved ones through dementia; even with all of that power and challenge, today I am not sad. I found lightness and a sense of peace after an evening spent swimming through the muck of the blues. This is a monumental achievement. Thank you, David.

Caro Thompson

Thank you for A Song for My Father.  It touched me so much. . . .  I’m sure you hear this a lot, but having gone through this with my mother’s Alzheimer’s was a long journey and I recognized a fellow traveler last night. Thanks for not being sentimental about it.

Linda Radtke

While watching your play I thought a lot about the roots of drama and literature and how primal our need for them is.  This was especially poignant for me when Randy has his mother and father act out a scene within the play.  I loved how the mother was invited into the space of the play, to exist there with the son and enlisted in the project of reconstructing and interpreting the past.  And the complexities of the father and son relationship, their love and resentments were rendered beautifully and without the glaze of sentimentality . . . . And the actors were wonderful. Hats off to you on having written such a compelling work!

Zelda Alpern

I thought it was superb. . . .We were all very moved. Are there plans for a production in New York?

Robert Barasch

The play [is] a powerful encounter with life events that many of us have experienced. . . . In a fine and deftly calibrated way, and through exquisite acting, the play enables us to face such a sitz im leben without blinking. . . in facing that situation straight on. . . . Thank you for tending to the common ventures, in the life of common people.

Jack Bremer

The play successfully communicates something honest and moving about both pain and enduring love in even the most conflicted family relationships. . . this play speaks to something common in all our experience.

Keith Alan Deutsch

 

. . . I was also interested in the audience’s response, which was always varied and diverse. This came out strongest in the hospital scenes, where the audience was divided between those who had experienced such a scene in their own lives, . . . or had never been through it. Some found comedy . . . gasped or moaned in sad recognition (no comedy for them), others I think were bestilled by the closeness to home in their current . . .  situation.

The overall dynamic between child and parent, the baggage carried from childhood into adulthood, . . . was strongly written, and the actors carried it well. I loved the diversity within the characters — not black and white, but complex.

My dad wondered at how much of what we saw was autobiographical. I suggested that whether or not it was the writer’s autobiography, it is clearly a collective autobiography . . . .

Rob Faivre

 

. . . What has been most interesting [since seeing the play] is the number of conversations, thoughtful, serious and reflective, that I have had with several people. Thank you for the power of your words and emotions. All of us who experienced the play came away with more than we brought.

Ginny McGrath

 

I thought your play was very powerful. I was not alone. One lady I talked with the day after I saw the play said she got as far as her car and burst into tears. . . . the 2nd act was uncanny in its accuracy . . . [it] made me cringe as it should have.

Bill  Blachly

*  *  *  *  *

The World Premier Production

Directed by Andrew Doe

Featuring:

John Alexander, Tara Lee Downs,

Robert Nuner & Ruth Wallman

 

*  *  *  *  *

Production History

The Western Stage, Hartnell College, Salinas, California, November 2, 3, 8, 9, 16, 17, 22, 23, 2013

Old Castle Theatre Company, Bennington, VT, August 20-September 5, 2010

Lost Nation Theatre, Montpelier, VT, April 22-May 9, 2010


Read More...

SYNOPSIS OF THE PLAY

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

 

 

PRODUCTION HISTORY

OF

JUDEVINE

2013

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
2011
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

2010

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

2009

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

2008

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

2007

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

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

 

2006

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

 

2005

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

 

2004

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

 

2002

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

 

2001

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

 

1999

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

 

1998

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

 

1996

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

 

1995

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

 

1994

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

 

1993

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

 

1992

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

 

1991

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

 

1990

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

 

1989

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

 

1988

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

 

1987

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

 

1986

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

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

 

1984

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

 

1980

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


 

 

THE CRITICS RESPOND TO
 

JUDEVINE
 

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.

Drama-Logue
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.

Weekend
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.

Democrat-Gazette
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

 

THE AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATRE PRODUCTION OF JUDEVINE WON THE BAY AREA CRITICS’ CIRCLE AWARD FOR BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE OF 1990Also available: two other Judevine related plays:
JUDEVINE: IN THREE ACTS and TWO FOR CHRISTMAS
 

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by

Mildred Walker

With an Introduction

by

David Budbill

 

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Bison Books

University of Nebraska Press

1996

5.25 x 8, 441 pages

paperback

ISBN: 0-8032-9786-6

University of Nebraska Press

http://nebraskapress.unl.edu/searchmain.html

search: “walker”

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Little Sara Bolster loved the great shining horses that drew the Henkel brewery wagon through the streets of Detroit in the 1880s. Those horses came to signify her fate, for she married the Henkel son and later, as a widow, took over the business. Sara’s struggle against the intolerance and hypocrisy of family and friends who disapproved of a woman running a brewery and opening a beer garden makes her a standout among the characters of Mildred Walker. The Brewers’ Big Horses recreates the manners and traditions of Germans in America as Prohibition gets up steam. Mildred Walker, chronicler of the modern American West and New England, is gaining new admirers with Bison Books reprints of such novels as Winter Wheat and The Southwest Corner.


 

 

[The Brewers’ Big Horses] has suspense and gripping interest. . . . The story is told quietly, with balance and realism and with the subtlety which is itself the effortless effect of restraint. The characters are drawn with few strokes, but increasingly they take on intimacy as well as significance in the reader’s mind. . . . Mildred Walker has drawn upon assimilated knowledge and searching individual thought, and the story has substance and vitality, convincing and unstrained.

 

The New York Times

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