Gore Vidal's 'Visit to a Small Planet' to be performed at Marsh Hall

Port Jervis, N.Y. A play for our times: What would someone from another galaxy think of the human race?

Sep 24 2019 | 02:16 PM

"Magic. The world needs more of it."

So said the late novelist, essayist, and politically outspoken Gore Vidal, who would have been 94 years old on Oct. 3. In a timely tribute to the prolific author, who also wrote for TV and the stage, the Presby Players will be presenting a dramatic reading of Vidal’s “Visit to a Small Planet” on Oct. 4, 5, and 6 at Marsh Hall, 60 Sussex St., Port Jervis.

Vidal called himself a political activist, and his anti-war sentiment is obvious in this satire, which asks us to suppose what someone from another galaxy would think of the human race.

There have been different iterations of “Visit to a Small Planet” since it was first written in 1955.

“It debuted as a television play, which was reworked for Broadway and eventually was made into a movie," said director Jeffrey Stocker.

He said said the Presby Players will be using a script based on the TV version. They will be performing in Readers Theater format, “with manuscript in hand and minimal props," Stocker explained.

“I originally directed this adaptation at the National Arts Club in New York City,” Stocker said. "I chose it because we’re moving into the fall season with Halloween coming up and this is a sci-fi piece that seems appropriate," he said.

Actor Gregory Giblin has the demanding part of Kreton, the alien. He says Stocker’s talents as a director are inspiring.

“This is the third time I have done this piece" -- adapted by Stocker in different venues -- "and each time I find new insights," Giblin said. "In 2019, I see a piece that can be viewed on many levels and continues to be relatable to modern times.”

Essential information:
What: Gore Vidal’s “Visit to a Small Planet” by The Presby Players
Where: Marsh Hall, 60 Sussex St., Port Jervis, N.Y.
When: 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5; 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6. Doors open one-half hour before each performance.
How much: $10 at the door