Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

November 4, 2011, 11:55 am
Filed under: Merrimack Repertory Theatre


Written by Mallory Johnston

I used to be a person who could have given or taken poetry.  This Verse Business changed that. Don’t get me wrong, I have always had a deep respect for the written word and the great writers and poets of the past, but I was reluctant to expect that I would enjoy an hour and a half of poetry. Then I saw the Designer’s Run of This Verse Business and my tune completely changed. As I was watching the show I forgot I was watching an actor who memorize a script. I was taken to a world where I was sitting in a lecture hall, listening to Robert Frost speak to me. The fact that this was in no way possible (seeing as I was born nearly 20 years after his death) never entered my mind. I left the room feeling as if I had just spent and hour and a half getting to know Frost’s personality, his humor, his wit and his take on the world. Mind you, all of that happened in MRT’s rehearsal hall at Bagshaw Mills, with no costume, no lighting, no sounds or set. I just couldn’t wait to see the full production.

Needless to say, the show exceeded all my expectations. I frequently fought the urge to ask Frost questions during the show, and more importantly, the urge crawl up on the stage, sit on the porch swing beside him and stare at the stars. Gordon Clapp has a way of simply becoming Frost. I am a sensible person, yet every time I see the show I forget he is an actor with a wig, makeup and costume. But Gordon doesn’t achieve this alone; every aspect of the production transports me to Frost’s life. I am left wishing I had the opportunity to have known or met the man himself. How playwright A.M. Dolan was able to capture Frost’s personality in a script is beyond me. I am also in awe of the direction and set design of Gus Kaikkonen. These three men were able to bring Robert Frost to life and I will be eternally grateful to them because they unlocked a love and appreciation (that I never knew I had) for Frost in me. All in all, I will be going to the library, checking out a book with the works of Frost and devouring every poem with newfound respect and vigor. I highly urge you to see the show and see if you find the same urge within yourself.

Over the coming days we will be posting stories from our staff on the impressions left with them. We hope that upon reading these that you will join us for a magical night of listening to Frost, and if you have already seen the show, you can post a comment here, or send them to us at If it’s alright with you we will post them on our blog for others to read.


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