‘Road to Where’ with energy, wit and intelligence it’s worth the trip

By David Lampe-Wilson
©2015 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Other Stage at Weston’s Rod and Gun Club has been transformed into a warm, intimate faux Irish pub, complete with tables and chairs at which audience members can consume a liter or two of ginger beer as they enjoy the Weston Playhouse’s latest production, The Road to Where.

Cass Morgan singing in the Pub

Cass Morgan sings in the warm and welcoming Irish pub created by Weston Playhouse for ‘The Road to Where.’ Photos by Tim Fort.

Written by and starring Cass Morgan, who also gave us Pump Boys and Dinettes, The Road To Where is a journey into Morgan’s psyche as she exorcises familial ghosts while attempting to redefine her self. Distilled from an earlier work – True Home,  Morgan and the Playhouse are workshopping the newly constructed piece, allowing Morgan to limn a dozen characters and to perform as a seanchai, or Irish storyteller, using a range of storytelling conventions — different styles of speech and gestures — and mixing tales of past and present, real and imagined in her quest to find her roots.

But can one actress and three musicians evoke the rich green of Ireland, its music and its people? For much of the evening, Morgan engages us with her energy, her wit and her intelligence. Dialogue runs from the simple to the poetic, as when a walk along a shoreline is described as a place “… where the land surrenders to the sea.” In small moments … quiet moments, you are wrapped in the warm glow of Morgan’s innate charm.

For much of the evening, Cass Morgan engages us with her energy, her wit and her intelligence. Dialogue runs from the simple to the poetic.

Like a good seanchai, Morgan has a gift for gab and her often meandering tales range from humorous to heartbreaking. Morgan is partnered by a trio of musicians who, at times, stand in for forbearers (Eli Zoller as father, Pearl Rhien as mother) and who sing along with Morgan on her journey of self-discovery. These are strong, standout moments; more of tone and mood than of story, the songs impart a weight and depth to this roundabout pilgrimage home.

Road to Where finale

A trio of musicians also fills in for other characters. From left, Cass Morgan, pianist Max Grossman, guitarist Eli Zoller and violinist Pearl Rhein.

As it is now, The Road to Where seems a trifle schizophrenic, bouncing between present-day Ireland and American memory. With the pub setting established the moment the audience enters the theater, it is disconcerting that the show begins and ends with a car ride through the streets of New Rochelle, N.Y. It is a strange way to frame this tale, and it is at odds with our established perception.

Director Steve Stettler keeps this slim evening humming along and is ably assisted with some fine work by lighting designer Cory Pattak and scenic designer Kristen Robinson.

The Road to Where is a memory piece that is less than the sum of its parts but, as with other things in life, it is often the journey that is more important than the destination.

The Road to Where continues through Aug. 30 at the Weston Playhouse Other Stage, Weston Rod and Gun Club, 982 Route 100, Weston. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; matinees 2 p.m. Saturday  and 3 p.m. Sunday. For tickets and information, click here or call 802-824-5288.

In an earlier version of this review, the Telegraph incorrectly listed the name and address of the Other Stage venue. We regret the error.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeReviews

About the Author: After 30 years as a theater critic and arts editor for a Connecticut daily newspaper, David Lampe-Wilson transplanted to Vermont with his wife and two cats.

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  1. Cynthia Prairie says:

    Thank you for the correction. It is the Weston Road and Gun Club. We have corrected the error.

  2. Lillian Elliott Miller says:

    The article mentions the Chester Rod & Gun Club. The interior looks much bigger than Chester’s clubhouse. Is it possible this is an error?