NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

May 8, 2014

'Living in and learning from nature'

Actors Studio executive director debuts his one-man play

It’s a one-man play that’s been 12 years in the making, though its roots actually go back much further than that.

“Grandfather Speaks” is a collection of seven interrelated stories from “the ancestors,” or “those who have come before,” said Marc Clopton, who wrote and stars in the show opening tomorrow at The Actors Studio of Newburyport.

“This is a project that has been percolating in me for years,” said Clopton, executive director of The Actors Studio. “The plot is a journey through time and dimensions, with the chance to view life from a new perspective.”

For the last 35 years, Clopton has been a conscious channel. Through “a deeply meditative process,” he is able to connect with different “spirit guides,” he said.

“It’s an expanded state of mind in which the brain and neurological system are sensitive to some abstract, indescribable form of communication,” he said.

He said he received some of the stories in “Grandfather Speaks” through a channeling session 12 years ago but wasn’t sure what to do with them.

Then, last spring, he helped present “The Spider and the Mouse: A Living Prophecy of the MicMac People” at The Actors Studio. The culmination of three years of work between Clopton and his friends David Sanipass and Ed Bullock, the project was a combination of personal stories, ancient tales and historic letters from MicMac elders.

Worried that “the story would meander if not controlled,” Sanipass and Bullock asked Clopton to help them develop the scripted piece and compress the stories into one hour.

“It was a marvelous learning experience,” Clopton said, and one that gave him the courage to turn the stories he had been sitting on into his own scripted play.

Boosted by a grant from New England Biolabs, he developed the character of a Native American grandfather to serve as a narrator of the stories.

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