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Ibsen's 'The Master Builder' being staged at Silo City

WBFO File Photo

Artists from near and far continue to be drawn to the possibilities of Silo City, the collection of grain elevators along Buffalo's waterfront. That trend continues this weekend with a staged reading of The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen.

When the organizers of the Against The Grain Theater Festival brought  Caleb Wertenbaker to Silo City earlier this year, the New York City designer, like so many of us, discovered a space that is easy to like, yet difficult to describe.

"Beautiful is maybe not quite the right word, but in my eyes I think it's an incredible striking and really quite a beautiful place in its vastness and its decrepitude," Wertenbaker said.

"I think it's a beautiful and maybe tragic symbol of a moment in America that is no longer but maybe some new life can come out of this."

Wertenbaker's set design for Silo City is just one of the intriguing features of this weekend's staged readings of Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder.  It's the initial presentation at Silo City for The Against The Grain Theater Festival, where David Oliver is Director-in-Residence.

"It's exciting to be there (at Silo City) and I think that seems to affect everyone. There's tours over there every weekend. People are really jazzed about the place and want to see it and want to feel it and learn about historically," Oliver said. 

"For us as artists, using the space is the big draw. There's so much variety there."

That variety will be put to use as the play's three acts will be shown at three different locations in Silo City, two inside, one outside. Oliver assures that his actors and staff will be ready to adapt if it rains.

Adapting The Master Builder for this weekend's staged readings is Neil Wechsler, Artistic Director for Against The Grain.

For Wechsler, the silos---their size and their boom-to-bust history--compliment the essence of the piece as the main character spends the play striving to know more and more at almost any cost.

"And I think ultimately that's what the play is about, the courage it takes to understand who we are, to understand the world and to understand the unbelievable and painful complexities of the world."

The staged readings take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and are available here.

Following the Sunday reading, theater scholar Marvin Carlson will lead a brief discussion.

Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.