BWW Reviews: THIS VERSE BUSINESS Paints a Compelling Portrait of Robert Frost
Lost Nation Theater's presentation of Robert Frost: THIS VERSE BUSINESS opened on September 7 at City Hall Arts Center in Montpelier, Vermont. Emmy Winner and Tony Nominee Gordon Clapp portrays the iconic American poet in A.M. Dolan's one-man play, under the direction of Gus Kaikkonen.
The play opens in the style of Frost's frequent public appearances, in which he was known to speak extemporaneously for several minutes about whatever was on his mind before launching into readings of his poetry. Addressing the audience from behind a podium, Clapp immediately captures Frost's dry, sometimes self-deprecating humor. We're introduced first to the professor and public speaker, and later, we get a glimpse into Frost's private life.
Dolan's script weaves Frost's poetry and personal views into a seamless piece of theater, which Clapp delivers with authentic New England wit and charm. (Clapp himself hails from New Hampshire, and seems to have been made for this role.) Clapp as Frost tosses around thoughts about writing, politics, religion, science, and art, while doling out bits of humorous advice like, "don't ever get married unless you can't help it". Theater-goers can expect to hear a number of Frost poems, including "Mending Wall," "The Road Not Taken," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," and a particularly poignant telling of "Death of a Hired Man". Sprinkled with New England references, THIS VERSE BUSINESS has special appeal to Vermonters. The piece succeeds in keeping its audience captivated for an entire 75 minutes without an intermission - no small feat for a one-person play. Clapp's charisma never falters, and 75 minutes feels like 25. This Lost Nation Theater presentation is a must-see!
Gordon Clapp is best known as Detective Greg Medavoy on NYPD BLUE, a role for which he won an Emmy Award in 1998. He received a Tony Nomination for his portrayal of Dave Moss in the 2005 Broadway Revival of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos