The perfect weather set the stage for two events featuring Vershire's creative offerings on July 22. Actors from our town, Benjamin Hooke and Tovahn Vitols, took to a literal stage - albeit a grassy one - to join in the presentation of Shakespeare's classic Hamlet at an outdoor venue behind the Tunbridge School. And here in Vershire itself seven gardens made up the second annual Vershire Women's Wellness Circle Healing Gardens Tour.
Hamlet was produced by the organization "Get Thee to the Funnery" which provides a two-week Shakespeare summer camp each year for local young actors. The atmosphere is informal, with tent seating on folding chairs and open air blankets, and the audience is encouraged - nay instructed - to participate with a brief introduction by the two of the camp's leaders who welcomed our laughter, gasps and sympathetic sighs as well as applause.
Tovahn is pictured here on the left wearing a helmet, Benjamin between the other two actors
Benjamin describes his experience with the play. "Hamlet was an absolutely amazing thing to put on. Hamlet, I feel, is one of the Shakespeare plays that is best understood when you perform it, and not when you read it. The fact that we put it on in two weeks was incredible, and kudos to Sophie and Kailie (camp directors) for doing it. Super excited to do it next year."
Benjamin holds forth as Pollonius
There are many unique features to this company's production, such as multiple actors playing a single role by sharing an item of costuming, like the blue scarf and white jacket shown here. Also, the members of the cast who are not on stage may be heard adding sound effects from behind and all around the audience. Tovahn played multiple roles from guard to villain to traveling troubadour.
Tovahn (in stripes) listening intently during a play within a play
Amazingly, all the lines are memorized, and there were very few times when support had to be called for with the cue, "Line!" considering the complexity and sheer volume of text assigned to each part.
The final scene of Hamlet
Earlier in the day, the same beautiful weather greeted visitors to the seven sites on the Healing Gardens Tour. Many thanks to Lynn Roy, Zanni Lacey and Liz Thames for organizing this event and creating the beautiful promotional literature.
Cheryl Calhoun's whiskey barrel garden
Cheryl Calhoun's lovely gardens wind all around the house from the whisky barrel plantings greeting visitors along the drive to the vegetable beds in back.
Suzanne Lupien's garden and cropland
Suzanne Lupien is one of Vershire's newest residents, but since her arrival last November she has rejuvenated an unoccupied farm into a lush working landscape with the help of a team of draft horses.
Patty Parker's granddaughter Darby assisted with the tour of their hillside gardens and greenhouse.
Suzanne Lacey grows medicinal herbs for her botanical products among the beautiful blossoms and sculptures, curated trails and meditation gardens from Snake Terrace to Mystic Glade. Just up the trail was Holly Drew's wild and cultivated landscape, including a pond that attracts many notable birds.
Pema Osel also welcomed visitors to tour the grounds of the Tibetan Buddhist retreat center. Marisa Hebb created a Mandala Garden with forty-eight beds in twelve overlapping circles at the Mountain School, to supplement their crops, orchard and greenhouses.
Although there was competition from a simultaneous garden tour in Corinth that included tea time and an author talk, visitors to Vershire's gardens were impressed, and we are always pleased to showcase the work and creativity of the women of our town. If you have photos or comments you'd like to share from the Healing Gardens Tour, feel free to post them on the Vershire Buzz Facebook page and the Vershire Women's Wellness Circle Facebook page.
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