Cripple Creek Theatre Company founder and artistic director Andrew Vaught began to write the germ of "Possum Kingdom" three years at a creative writing workshop, but the process by which it was finalized was ever more recently accomplished. As was the case with "The Future Is a Fancyland Place," Vaught drew on the creative juices of his fellow Cripple Creek members to discuss, dissect and deconstruct the play.
The process allowed the work to be refined in a way satisfying to all the actors and gave Vaught the gift of feedback he earnestly solicited
The end result is a work being presented in the middle of the St. Claude Truck Farm, a tract of undeveloped land being managed by local musicians and artists at 3020 St. Claude Avenue. The play, which has an underlying theme of depletion of natural resources, is well-placed in the middle of a natural setting. However, be forewarned. It can get very chilly and the mosquitoes can get quite hungry if one does not adequately prepare with jackets or sweaters, long-sleeve shirts and bug repellent.
Directed by Bonnie Gabel, the concept of "Possum Kingdom" is far from simple, but it largely focuses on institutions which are unprepared for change and must deal with the consequences of that change. In this case the players represent the residents of an agrarian land who labor to find "brosia," a readily-found item in their area that is much-prized by the urban traders.
Dylan Hunter, Philip Yiannapoulis, Kate Kuen and Martin Bradford are the respective laborers Alder, Fitz, Marjorie and Pattison, content to toil away their hours seeking brosia, which they trade for sustenance - cans of food - secured for them by their trading agent Inman, who is played by Vaught.
When the brosia supply suddenly runs out and trading comes to a frighteningly halt, it signals the return of the possums played by Odile del Giudice, Ezra Lowrey and Kristen Gremilion. The much-feared possums are more than unseen spirits. They seem to control the lives and thoughts of the laborers and force them to contemplate their past and consider their future.
Locally, the BP oil spill and its disastrous effect on businesses across our region, is but one example of the real-life drama "Possum Kingdom" implores us to contemplate.
The storyline is surrealistic and gives one much to ponder, even days after viewing it. It is a brave work that makes for very interesting and compelling viewing. The experience of seeing it performed in a natural setting expands the work in a way no mere stage could do.
"Possum Kingdom" continues at the St. Claude Truck Farm, 3020, now through November 10. It continues November 15-17 at the Bayou Playhouse in Lockport, LA. For tickets call 504-244-1776 or click here.