by Demetra Pappas
Watching This Will All Be Yours, the audience is taken on a journey from The Cherry Orchard to The Exonerated, and with music regarding the decline of the family farm in the last century. This chamber piece works tremendously well under the direction of Ludovica Villar-Hauser and the musical direction of Amy Duran. The “what” that will “all be yours” is a family farm, which becomes increasingly difficult to financially hold onto as three children grow up, and leave home.
In many ways, Laura Pederson’s 80-minute story is as much about an American family in the 1970s and 1980s as much as it is about the economic decline of the small farm owned and operated by, ironically, the Price family. The Prices are played by Jenny Rose Baker (who has a spectacular voice, as well), Matt Farcher, Amy Griffin, Josh Powell and Daniel Rowan; a would be buyer is represented by Jackson Webb (Trevor St. John-Gilbert, in brief but memorable scenes in which the audience learns that his family also had a farm). I was interested to learn from the Author’s Note in the Festabill that Pederson herself grew up in a largely rural part of Western New York. This is the story of how farming became mechanized, as the younger Price family members sequentially leave for urban environments ranging from early Silicon Valley to the youngest son’s final departure for an aspiring acting career on Broadway (in what I take to be authorial tongue in cheek).
During a recent “talk back panel,” Villar-Hauser wittily commented that she took on the chance to work on a play with music, and the play grew into a musical with a story to tell. In this regard, the ensemble production reminded me of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grills, which garnered Audra McDonald a record-breaking sixth Tony, for her role as Billie Holiday – as Best Actress in a Play (with music, so to speak).
I hope that this work by former New York Times columnist Laura Pederson (book) and Charles Bloom (music and lyrics) continues to grow from the seed planted (pun intended) at the Midtown International Theater Festival. It is a recent historical prelude to a contemporary one time in which people are looking for farm to table possibilities, participating in CSA community supported agriculture and organic cooperatives.
Demetra M. Pappas, JD, MSc, PhD writes about criminology, sociology and legal studies, among other topics. Her recent book, The Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Debate (Greenwood Press, 2012), a 100-year study of US and UK doctors prosecuted for medical euthanasia/assisted suicide and role of media) was nominated for the 2014 International Qualitative Inquiry Book Prize, as well as nominated and short listed, 2013 British Society of Criminology Book Prize.