Massachusetts playwright Constance Congdon's “Take Me to the River” will be given a staged reading Monday at Port Townsend's Key City Playhouse.

Massachusetts playwright Constance Congdon's “Take Me to the River” will be given a staged reading Monday at Port Townsend's Key City Playhouse.

Topical tale of farm troubles in Key City play

PORT TOWNSEND — The future of family farms, the arrival of developers and the water of life all converge in “Take Me to the River.”

And though it’s a play about two clans living along the Colorado River, “Take Me” is topical in any part of the country where farming, water rights and housing tracts add up to trouble.

Key City Public Theatre’s WordPlay program will present a staged reading of “Take Me,” written by Massachusetts playwright Constance Congdon, at 7 p.m. Monday at the Key City Playhouse, 419 Washington St.

Admission to this WordPlay reading is a suggested donation of $10.

11 local actors

Eleven local actors will bring to life the story of the Campbell family and their friends the Montoyas, former migrant farm workers who now have their own land.

Trouble is, drought has dropped the river down. The state natural resources department has required some farmers to shut down their wells.

Housing developers come in. They want to build condominiums, which they say will be less of a drain on the area’s water resources.

At the same time, a younger member of the Montoya family questions whether she wants to continue working the farm for the rest of her life, sunup till sundown.

Congdon, who teaches playwriting at Amherst College, came to Port Townsend earlier this year as the guest playwright at Key City Public Theatre’s February Playwrights’ Festival. Key City presented her play “Lips” in the spring.

Congdon’s “Take Me” has been workshopped and given staged readings at the Denver Center Theatre and at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

The playwright hopes this story will inspire people to mull questions like: What will happen to small family farms? How will water rights be allocated for the farms and housing developments of the future?

“At the end, [the play] gets big. It gets global,” Congdon said.

The patriarch of the Campbell family, in his 70s, begins to hallucinate. What he sees are people stealing from his well.

“It turns out,” the playwright said, “that he’s seeing the world.”

The actors presenting “Take Me to the River” are Kristin Wolfram, Doug Taylor, David Hundhausen, Caleb Peacock, Pauline Morgan, David Baker, Amy Sousa, Henry Feldman, Michael Vicha and Patti Quintero, with Michelle Hensel providing the voice-over.

Tickets are available in advance by phoning 360-385-5278 (KCPT) or visiting www.KeyCityPublicTheatre.org.

Remaining tickets will be sold at the playhouse door Monday night.

________

Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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