Variety in Vienna Fairgoers, a whistling hired girl, henpecked husband and strangers will take center stage July 26-28


VIENNA – For the 25th consecutive year, the Vienna Historical Society will present a program of plays that will take audiences back to the “good ol’ days.” Showtimes will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 26-27, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 28, at Union Hall.

“Back from Readfield Fair” is a sequel to last year’s “Vienna Mountain Tonic,” in which children, visiting their Aunt Josephine in Vienna, were eagerly looking forward to the fair. This time, they tell visiting relatives of the excitement of seeing the plane when it “looped a loop” while Lawyer Peacock of Readfield was a passenger.

On display at the hall will be a photo, donated by Natalie Giles, which is an enlargement of a snapshot of the Curtis IN-A “Jenny” biplane, taken by her mother, Cordelia Stiles, 23, of Readfield with the notation: “September 26, 1925 at Readfield. My first airplane ride.”

Other local history mentioned in the play: Hiram Comstock of Vienna was shipping his entire apple crop to England during World War I when the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine, and the apples went down in the ocean.

Another noteworthy event mentioned: In 1920, Gen. Pershing and other dignitaries made a stop in Mount Vernon Village on his way to Farmington during his busy tour.

The play, by Beverly Wight Smith, is directed by Barbara and Courtney Gilman. Courtney plays Aunt Josephine. Other cast members are Ashley, Ben and Allie Emery, Hollie Legendre, Lindsey and Levi Smith, Greta Stuart, and Brook Burnham.

“Suitable Wives,” set in a Vienna farmhouse in the 1920s, was also written by Smith and is directed by Judy Dunn, who plays the lead role, Beulah Belle, a mother determined to marry off her sons, Gideon (Steve Mallen) and Sullivan (Roger Reville), to Patience and Comfort, nieces of dignified Sir Hiram.

Other characters include the whistling hired girl, Callie, played by Kitty Gee; Aunt Sophia’s henpecked husband, Ephraim, played by Leon Wyman; and Aunt Maria’s bossy husband, Horace, played by Quimby Robinson.

Beulah Belle is annoyed that her husband, Boxford, has invited his “crude and uncouth” half aunt Hettie (Carole O’COnnell) for a visit. Hiram had expressed a desire to meet Hettie, but didn’t anticipate the consequences of her arrival.

Others in the cast are Courtney Gilman, Megan Burnham, Beverly Smith, Leona Carpentier, Cherie Sadler, Andrea Brann, Jim Gajarski, Val Dunn, Barbara Gilman, and Luke Olson.

“Win Some, Lose Some and Then Some” is a tribute to the Shakespeare Club and could have been written by these ladies for their summer community. They were eight women from Brunswick who formed a club for the purpose of “mutual improvement.” They also became well-known for producing successful plays to raise money for the Brunswick Public Library. In 1892, they bought a 90-acre farm at the top of Vienna Mountain for their August retreat. The house is still there.

“Win Some, Lose Some and Then Some” tells of the difficulties of David, the foreman at Veinna’s sawmill, who is shy with women but wants to marry Nancy Robinson, a Mount Vernon store owner. She won’t have anything to do with him. David sends his not quite manly, sensitive and trusted friend, Ezra to convince her otherwise with poetry. Guess whom Nancy will fall for? Meanwhile, Percival, Mt. Vernon’s self-proclaimed High Muck-a-muck has decided to thaw his own chilly heart and also try to win Nancy’s favor. Nancy’s Aunt Ada and Uncle Ora set out to spoil Percival’s plans and make sport of him in the process.

True to the genre of Vienna plays, there are the inevitable strangers who come to town, adding complications. Expect music, romance, fist fights, deceit, disguised identities, and foolishness. This is the third play written for the Vienna Historical Society by Cheryl Herr-Rains.

“Win Some, Lose Some and Then Some” is directed by Beverly Shaw. Cast members are Peter Diplock, Don Petersen, Muffy Floyd, Dick Waddell, Wayne Reynolds, Allan Harville, Dodi Thompson, Alice Olson, Kathy Stern, Jon Olson, Quimby Robinson, and Alan LaVallee.

The program of plays is dedicated to Burton Gilman, who died last December. He acted in Vienna plays from 1984 through 2005. For many years, he was master of ceremonies, including last year when ill health prevented him from acting.

Refreshments will be sold by Mill Stream Grange. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children under 12.