In/Visible presents ‘Groundwork’
Can one garden save the world?
Maybe not, but in In/Visible Theatre’s new play, “Groundwork,”a garden might save one man.
A collaboration between In/Visible artistic director Derek Davidson and his former Barter Theatre colleague, Mike Ostroski, “Groundwork” explores the idea that a garden’s potential is not just to save the gardener money at the grocery store. Nurturing seeds to grow into life-sustaining food can itself be a life-sustaining act.
Ostroski said that the show is based on his attempt to deal with a time of difficulty in his life by growing his first garden.
“I surprised myself by suddenly asking a friend, ‘Do you want to grow a garden?’ I’m still figuring out why I asked,” Ostroski said. “But the garden felt primal and of my DNA and on a molecular level. And so many wonderful and crazy things happened as a result of our endeavors.”
The play is a one-man show, with Ostroski playing a character not coincidentally named “Mike,” but also portraying 10 other characters, some fictitious and some based on real people.
Davidson, who wrote the play based largely on Mike’s personal stories, included various characters, from a Los Angeles party planner shocked to find that her boyfriend gardens to a Russian woman who recommends sucking on seeds before planting them.
Davidson said that in our technologically advanced age, a play about the simple act of gardening is welcomed by audiences.
“We walk through life and don’t notice the slop of accumulation of society on us, the stresses that we walk through and the technology and the pollution,” Davidson said, paraphrasing Ostroski. “Stress builds up on our bodies and weighs us down and slows us down, and a garden cleanses us of all that.”
The two friends have known each other since 1995, and Ostroski said collaborating with Davidson has been “awesome, exciting and invigorating.”
Ostroski is now based on the West Coast and recently had a guest spot on the television show, “Breaking Bad.” In addition to his 10 seasons in the acting company at Virginia’s Barter Theatre, he also appeared in In/Visible Theatre’s inaugural production, “Bumbershoot,” which rehearsed in Boone and premiered at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival.
“I love Boone,” Ostroski said. “I love these mountains, and it’s a beautiful community and a beautiful setting. I think ‘Groundwork’ is a great match for Boone because it’s about sustainability and finding a way to stay healthy upon the planet, and Boone seems to have a healthy respect and passion for environmental issues.”
Davidson said he has written the show to appeal on different levels. “Some of it is a personal story for Mike, but it’s also about how modern distractions remove us from the very land, the very earth that sustains us. And reconnecting with the earth relieves us of all the deadly poison of accumulation. This play will let the audience watch a man reconnect with the earth and will help the audience reconnect, too.”
“Groundwork” plays at the I.G. Greer Theatre on the Appalachian State University campus. The theater is located in the lower level of I.G. Greer Hall, facing the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building.
Performances run July 31 through Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 3 and 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information, visit http://groundworkbyinvisibletheatre.tumblr.com, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call In/Visible Theatre producing director Karen Sabo at (828) 964-6924.