Last year, Buffalo playwright Neil Wechsler announced ambitious plans for an outdoor theater festival that would draw actors and audiences from across the Rust Belt. Those plans, since scuttled due to funding problems, called for a production of Wechsler’s adaptation of “Faust” custom-tailored to rove around the post-industrial warehouses and grain silos of Silo City.
In lieu of that planned production, which has been put on simmer as Wechsler builds support for his Against the Grain Festival, the Buffalo playwright has assembled a troupe of actors and crew from Buffalo, Chicago, New York City and Toronto to present an elaborately staged reading of Henrik Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” directed by David Oliver. The reading, which runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will take place at three different outdoor locations at Silo City, with the audience picking up and following the cast at certain predetermined points.
Ibsen’s play tells the tragic story of a Norwegian builder with a crushing fear of heights, a phobia sure to be accentuated by the towering concrete grain silos after which the site is named. Sets for the reading will be designed by Caleb Wertenbaker, who has created acclaimed sets for many plays and operas throughout the eastern United States.
Theater scholar Marvin Carlson, a supporter of Wechsler’s past work, will give a lecture on the play’s title character, called “Solness’ Faustian Bargain.”
The reading costs $10. Visit www.atgfestival.org.
– Colin Dabkowski