Area theater fans will remember Arlene Hutton’s Last Train to Nibroc, a tribute to her parents’ Kentucky roots that Actors Guild of Lexington presented in 2000. When the show was presented at New York’s 78th Street Theatre Lab in 1999, The New York Times wrote, “When you leave this performance after 90 minutes of seeing these people reveal depths of feelings they are trying to hide, you might think you could easily enjoy another few hours of this.”
Well, Hutton (a pen name for actor and director Beth Lincks), has given us more time with Raleigh and May, the couple who met on Nibroc’s title train. The sequels: See Rock City and Gulf Stream Drive are now playing in repertory with Nibroc at the 78th Street Lab, and they too are getting raves from the Times.
Critic Ginia Bellafante wrote that the plays “examine the grace born of disruption. And they ought to be seen by anyone who doubts the capacity of front-porch drama to tell a meaningful story beyond its own perimeters.”
When Nibroc got its rave, it quickly made the move to off-Broadway, so these will be shows to keep our eyes on.
Hutton’s plays have received numerous local productions, including As It Is in Heaven, which she researched in the Shaker community of Pleasant Hill and was produced by the University of Kentucky Theatre in 2002.
(Jahi Chikwendiu's copyrighted photo, above, is of Rachel Rogers and Michael Pafunda, stars of AGL's 2000 production of Nibroc. The photo was shot in Gratz Park for a feature story about the show.)