The Last Ferryman

The UMF community celebrated faculty who published books in 2013 and 2014 at a reception on March 10. Each faculty member’s book was introduced with remarks from another faculty member, a nice (and relatively new) UMF tradition. Several faculty members from the Humanities were on hand as authors, and we wanted to share some of the commentary on their books.

Linda Britt, The Last Ferryman, introduced by Pat O’Donnell:

This last year Linda Britt was commissioned to write the book for an opera, “The Last Ferryman,” celebrating the anniversary of the Deer Isle Sedgewick bridge. The Grammy-Award winning Paul Sullivan was commissioned to write the music. Of “The Last Ferryman,” the Portland Press Herald says it “tells the bridge story with historical figures and fictional characters. It illuminates a key cultural moment for one of Maine’s loveliest islands, and does so within the framework of a fully staged musical that features a cast of New York actors and community members, a three-piece band anchored by Sullivan and choreography by the Portland-based dance artists Gwyneth Jones and Gretchen Berg . . . ‘The Last Ferryman’ captures the conflict inherent in progress of the Maine coast. It celebrates the aesthetic and architectural wonder of the bridge while giving poignant voice to what’s lost when an island attaches itself to the mainland and gives in to the headlong momentum of change.”

We all know Linda as our beloved chair of Humanities and Professor of Spanish. Some of us remember Linda writing poems and having them published in literary journals. Not many of us know that a book she translated by Costa Rican writing Carmen Naranjo, There Never Was a Once Upon a Time, was included in a list of “500 Great Books by Women.”

Some of us also have, over the years, enjoyed some of the plays and musicals she has written. These include “Let Me Count the Ways,” her divorce musical performed at the Community Little Theater in Auburn; “Thanksgiving,” a one-act play which received an award from the Theatre Association of New York State; the moving full-length play “Adoption Stories” performed by the Out of the Box Theater company in Lewiston; the ever-popular “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington,” a one-woman show about Margaret Chase Smith that is touring venues in Maine; the play “Aiken Pond” performed by the Out of the Box Company; and the devastating “What If,” performed at the Maine Playwrights Festival, at Out of the Box Theater, and the Community Little Theater. Her play “I Smile, Of Course, and Go On Drinking Tea,” will be previewed in a staged reading at UMF on April 10 before it goes to New York in June as part of the “Talent on Tap” program which brings playwrights to NYC to see their work performed.

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