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Stage Set For Drama (And Musical Comedy) On The International Border

Flower pots and landscaping stones mark the international border between Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vt. Inside the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, the border is marked by a line on the floor. Photo by Amy Kolb Noyes for VPR

Flower pots and landscaping stones mark the international border between Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vt. Inside the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, the border is marked by a line on the floor. Photo by Amy Kolb Noyes for VPR

Next month a new theater troupe, the Borderline Players, will put on its first summer musical. You can see the show in the U.S. or Canada — depending on where in the theater you sit.

If you look up the address for the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, you’ll find it’s both on Caswell Avenue in Derby Line, Vermont, and at 1 Church Street, in Stanstead, Quebec.

Outside the building, the international border is marked by a row of potted plants and decorative stones.

Inside the building, the first-floor library serves patrons in both countries, as does the second-story opera house, which is home to the Borderline Players.

Chris Planetta is president of the theater troupe’s board of directors.

“Well, we’re in a turn-of-the-century opera house,” he said of the theater that opened in 1904. “The building’s a hundred years old. There’s solid wooden seats everywhere; there’s a balcony section that’s very decorative. There’s a painted curtain right behind us. There’s a line physically separating two countries in the middle of the floor.”

Visit VPR for the full story.