The Tennessean Preview: Posterity

Nashville Rep explores artist's life, legacy in 'Posterity'

Amy Stumpfl | The Tennessean

Since 2009, Nashville Repertory Theatre’s Ingram New Works Project has developed promising new works from both established and emerging artists, with new plays receiving a staged reading at its annual Ingram New Works Festival.

But this week, local audiences will get to see one of those plays receive a full production, with the Nashville premiere of Doug Wright’s “Posterity.”

“Nashville Rep was so instrumental in the development of this play,” says Wright, who worked on “Posterity” as part of his Ingram Fellowship during The Rep’s 2013-14 season. “Nashville Rep has created such a warm and welcoming community for playwrights — this really feels like a homecoming of sorts.”

“Posterity” centers on Norway’s most celebrated sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, who’s been commissioned to create a bust of its most famous writer, Henrik Ibsen. But Ibsen proves to be a rather unwilling and contentious subject, and the two artists are soon butting heads over what constitutes a person’s true legacy — “the work achieved during our life or how our loved ones remember us.”

“I was visiting Vigeland’s studio in Oslo, and saw six unfinished busts of Ibsen,” Wright explains. “At the time Vigeland received the commission, Ibsen’s health was quickly deteriorating — he actually experienced a series of strokes. So each time they met, Vigeland felt he must start over in order to capture Ibsen’s altered appearance.