Full length two act play based on the novella by Picano published in Tales From a distant Planet.
Set in modern day Wisconisn
Staged produced at Black Hawk Theatre
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2007
Another kind of mystery/character study like The Bombay Trunk, Ingoldsby is not a play in which the main character delves ever inward in his search; but across time itself. The bucolic Wisconsin setting is focused upon an architecturally significant house built in 1939 for a young steel tycoon as a vacation/play spot named Ingoldsby, and the small town it adjoins, Fulton’s Landing.
A student readying his American History thesis for his Ph.D is hired as caretaker for the summer in 2001 as the house is being prepped and processed to become a state museum/historic site. While there, the serious yet solitary Neal meets a trio of locals, including an elderly doctor who seems to know all about the house and a recently widowed post-mistress who is more than ready for young Neal’s attentions.
While living in the gate house, Neal begins noticing inescapably odd happenings from the house, and they begin to increase. Then suddenly he encounters a second trio of extraordinary young people including Bud Ingals, the house’s owner, his best friend Tony, and the lovely young woman, Celia, who he calls his “ward.”
Everything about the second group is intriguing, different; their points of references, their odd innocence and even odder slang, their likes and dislikes. But they accept Neal into their little group and for the first time ever, he begins to feel totally at home among them, and inside the house itself.
It’s only when the trio’s appearances and disappearances become unexpected and sudden, that Neal realizes that he is facing an ever greater mystery. Through research and libraries and town gossip he soon enough discovers who his new friends are. Now the real question is exactly what they are. He’s never been so comfortable with young men as he is with the apparently closeted Tony and the gracious, straight Bud; nor has Neal ever been as infatuated as soon becomes with Celia.
Gradually, Neal and Bud come to understand that they are interacting over an unbridgeable, and then exactly how that is happening. Gradually Neal discovers the truth about the house and property at Ingoldsby and why they’ve been apparently abandoned for so long. Now Neal must decide where and when he really belongs; and then work to alter it.
Combining suspense with country house comedy and fantasy, Ingoldsby is a play about what we think we believe, what we can come to believe--and how far we will go to prove it.