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In Depth: Ashley Nease on Judevine, LNT, and Vermont
April 17, 2017
I was on my way to work when I received Kim's email, asking me if I'd join the Judevine cast.
I wept for joy openly on the streets of Manhattan!
Judevine and David Budbill hold special, complex places in my Vermonter heart, as they do for everyone in this production. Lost Nation Theater provided me my first opportunity to work with David; it is where I feel like I'm coming home, and is also a very special place where his work has thrived and evolved. Which is why it was so important to me that I make myself available for this show. I'm working three NYC jobs remotely, I just couldn't miss this opportunity to play Grace! She is a perfect example of how Budbill powerfully captures the human-made wilderness of Vermont. His characters are a pleasure to perform, they are the survivors - the saplings that endure every winter and are green every spring.
A Little More on Ashley, the Lost Nation Theater and Budbill connection:
Maggie Miller was in her seventies and Ashley Nease was still a teenager when Maggie loaned her a copy of David Budbill’s ‘Judevine’. A mutual friend of LNT and Ashely, Ms. Miller made the introduction! Maggie was a spiritual woman who cultivated creativity in her friends, and at a time in Ashley’s life when she was just discovering her love for theater and poetry, Maggie introduced her to a place she loved, Lost Nation Theater. Driving home from Ashley’s first of many shows there along the dark north branch of the Winooski River, Maggie encouraged her to one day grace that stage.
As their loving friendship evolved, so did their shared love of Budbill’s writing. Maggie was a proud Vermonter, born and raised, with a profound respect for the “ancient mountains," the days “with some kind of edge to them”, and the “billion billion souls” that make this state so varied and beautiful. Ashley will always consider the stories of Maggie's marriage as further chapters of Raymond and Ann’s lives - they fostered many hippies and were certainly “God’s gardener(s)”.
In 2012 Ashley had the delightful opportunity to work with David on Lost Nation’s production of ‘Two For Christmas’. She got to know David better and grew to love him as a human being, not just some disembodied chronicler and painter of poems. During that production, she felt the things that had begun to define her at a formative age under Maggie's tutelage finally converge; by living in the world of Judevine and speaking David’s words on LNT’s stage, she was singing her and Maggie’s love song to their beloved, funky Vermont.
Ashley is very proud to join these talented souls and sing again, for Maggie, for David, for Grace, and for you.
P.S. Ashley is usually making weird theater & film in NYC, stop by! www.ashleynease.com
photo courtesy of John Snell