NARRAGANSETT–Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously penned his 54-line poem “Kubla Khan” in an opium fog, scribbling his mystical visions as they came to him. But, in the midst of this poetic ecstasy he was interrupted by a visitor from Porlock—a village in southern England—and never completed the poem. Since then, in literary circles, any unwanted visitor is referred to as a “Person from Porlock”.
Narragansett High School senior Ryan Field has picked a play, A Bad Year for Tomatoes for his senior project about a notable actress who is exhausted with the demands of her artistic life and escapes to small New England town. Unfortunately for her, she selects a loony hamlet that could outdo Porlock in its population of troublesome neighbors.
Field has been an actor since third grade and has appeared in every high school show since. His “learning stretch” for his senior project (exploring the different realms of a subject area you enjoy) is to leave the glories of the stage for the worries of the pit. He’s the director and is working to produce a quality show. You may have seen Field at the town’s school committee or town council meetings working the camera during the always entertaining open forum.
Field wanted a play that would make people laugh. And A Bad Year for Tomatoes should be in season in this bleak year. John Patrick’s play from 1973 is not going to illuminate any eternal truths, but an audience will see some zany shtick. The main character, Myra, invents a mad, homicidal sister who is kept locked in an upstairs room, but who occasionally escapes long enough to scare off uninvited visitors. The play is slapstick and goofy and Field is sharpening his director’s claws with the help of a mentor, Joel Kipper.
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