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Villanova Theatre’s “Posterity”

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Courtesy of Villanova Theatre
Villanova Theatre is currently finishing its showing of “Posterity.”

 

From Nov. 9 to Nov. 23, Villanova Theatre showed Wendy Macleod’s “Posterity” at the Court Theatre in the John and Joan Mullen Performing Arts Center. The performers consist of six students from Villanova’s Master of Arts in Theatre program, and this play was directed by Edward Sobel. 

 

“Posterity” details three separate, but similar, stories of family across centuries. The first story is set during the time period of the Civil War, as a young man is heading off to battle. The second story, in 2021, describes a husband and wife who are dealing with the impending death of their infant. The third story is about a photographer’s family who is attempting to take care of the mental health of its teenage son. Though the characters are experiencing different events, the underlying feelings of loss, pain and love are afflicting all three families, and they try to both manage their grief and look for comfort in photography. Through the incorporation of photography, the play explores the question as to whether photography can worsen the negative emotions associated with grief for those in pain, or be beneficial, since photos can document historical events. 

 

The cast list includes Michael Pliskin as Henry and Sam, Noelle Diane Johnson as Gloria, Margo Weishar as Pearl and Ginny, Emma Drennen as Lydia and Hannah, Nathan Trementozzi as Thaddeus and Jasper and Sara Buscaglia as Minnie and Rose. 

 

“Posterity” utilizes dual roles, which occurs when one actor plays two roles in the same production. In the play, the actors playing dual roles are depicting multiple characters across two different time periods. Though this may be confusing for audience members to catch onto at first, each character in the play is dealing with similar emotions, which demonstrates that grief among families is constant across time periods, regardless of the circumstances. 

 

“The play is structured in an unconventional way, moving freely in time and space,” Sobel said. “In some ways it operates more like an art installation or piece of music than what people might think of as a conventional play.” 

 

Sobel is no stranger to directing the first production of new plays on stage. Last year, he directed the first production of “Chrysalis” by Kathryn Peterson, and he says that “[his] involvement with this production is a continuation of [his] creative interests and aesthetic.” 

 

“I believe bringing new plays into the world is necessary for theatre to remain a vital art form and part of our culture,” he said. “I also relish the personal challenge of doing something no one has done before.”

 

Sobel also shared that “Posterity” is this year’s winner of the Sue Winge New Play Award, which is given by the Theatre Department. 

 

“Through the award, we were also fortunate to have playwright Wendy MacLeod with us for part of the rehearsal process,” Sobel said. “When one is producing a play with a previous production history, the playwright is most often not present.  Our students had the opportunity to interact with the playwright, and also the unusual experience of being the first actors ever to play the roles they are playing.”

 

In addition, according to the Instagram account “If You’re Reading This Villanova,” the organization and Villanova Theatre formed a partnership to promote “Posterity.” A post from Nov. 8 read, “Posterity covers difficult topics, and in an effort to facilitate conversations and awareness on them, once the play has concluded we will be hosting an open discussion group for anyone involved in the play/who viewed the play and would like to discuss their thoughts or experiences.” 

 

The date and location of the discussion group are still to be determined, but since some of the play’s content may be triggering to audience members, it is great that the organization is giving the audience a place to discuss what it witnessed on stage.

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