Nashville Arts Magazine Preview: Posterity

POSTERITY: THE NASHVILLE REP WORKS ON ITS LEGACY

by Jim Reyland

“Patrick Waller and I have shared the stage many times, but in Posterity I am privileged to work with a man who knows how to take a larger-than-life character and turn him into a human being. René Copeland and Doug Wright have set a beautiful table. Our Nashville audience will experience a feast for all their senses.”

—Actor Chip Arnold

It’s an interesting question: How will we be remembered? Have we left anything of value behind to spark our memory in others? Will history of any kind treat us kindly? Did we have the stuff while here to foster random thoughts or casual mentions years after our final goodbye? Do most of us care? Of course, our families will pine, but beyond that, is more possible? In other words, let’s contemplate the ego facet of the big picture. Where will we stand, even though we are no longer in it? Some, because of great achievement or sheer repetition, will be remembered distantly, some fleetingly, some in passing. Others, depending on their press agents, will linger in recurring commercials, historical documents, and stamps. Is it simply the volume, or is it the quality of the noise we make that will make us hard to forget? Finally, if you believe “Life” is merely a starting point, and so much more good stuff lies ahead, does it really matter?

Pulitzer and Tony winning playwright Doug Wright, author of I Am My Own Wife, Quills, and Grey Gardens, poses many of these questions in his new play Posterity, developed during his time as the Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Fellow. Now it’s up to us to decide if we agree with his conclusions.

Take a world-renowned Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, near the end of his career and force him into a room with Norway’s favorite sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, at the peak of his career when his ambitions require him to persuade a reluctant Ibsen to sit for him. Their battle begins. Debating what a person’s true legacy is— the work achieved during our life or how our loved ones remember us—unexpectedly teaches them something fundamental as the two explore a complex yet basic human question: Who will I be to posterity?

Amos GlassNews, Posterity