In the only castle in Vermont, actors and actresses from a Manhattan show are putting the final touches on their performance. "The Four Seasons" is based on the little control the world has over passing time. And instead of planting people in chairs, the hourlong show will allow the audience to follow the performances throughout the castle.
"Well, it will be fun to have people right in our face; that will be really interesting. I've never performed this close to the audience, I don't think," actress Kim Moyer said.
And while the 50-person cast brought racks of costumes for the spirits in the show, some would say the 138-year-old castle already has a few of those.
"We have had people hear beads drop from a staircase. We have had lights come on without our control. We have been the last the leave and for sure the first to come-- and had a very specific room that we set up totally rearranged," said Jacob Patorti, the director of the show.
Built in 1867, the brick mansion is filled with 32 rooms and sprawls over 20,000-square feet. But harsh Vermont seasons have wreaked havoc on the castle. Patorti says he hopes the show will not only be a hit, but also be a help.
"It makes sense that the stress of the building relates to the stress of the play. And hopefully the audience will leave not only wanting to stop for a moment and smell the roses with life, but also see the distress of the castle and want to help turn that around, too," Patorti said.
Castle curator Levi Nelson has been giving tours for nearly a decade. It is one of only 15 castles in America, but Nelson says the rich history, unique story and welcoming atmosphere set the Wilson estate apart.
"You've been inside; you know the rooms aren't roped off. You are allowed to touch things. You can take flash photography. It's a very relaxed environment," Nelson said. "It makes it possible, in a very practical sense, to give tours in a very personal way."
Nelson says the number of visitors has dropped over the years and the budget is tight. He hopes the show can spark people's interest in the castle. He doesn't want to imagine what will happen if the damage cannot be fixed.
"If it goes away, it cannot be brought back," he said. "There will be no second chances. As far as doing the fix-ups-- if we don't do it now, we won't have another chance."
Spirits-- both past and present-- coming together to revitalize a piece of Vermont history.