Past Productions

2018

Richard II

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story

Directed by Ted Pugh

Performed by David Anderson

Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season!

“Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2017

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story

Directed by Ted Pugh

Performed by David Anderson

Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season!

“Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2016

Shakespeare's Supernaturals

Shakespeare's SupernaturalsDirected by Melania Levitsky
Adapted from the works of William Shakespeare
by Melania Levitsky & James Luse

Performers: James Luse, Laurie Portocarrero, Simon Frishkoff,
Faith Compo, Wilhelmina Sharp, and children of the community.
Music by Merwin Lewis

Do you believe in ghosts and witches and faeries and things? Theseus doesn’t.
And Mercutio believes only in dreams. But if you are a poet, a lover, or a madman, then surely you know there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet sees a ghost, Macbeth and Lady M meddle with witches, Prospero learns to love from one of his enslaved spirits, and Titania and Oberon rule over the faerie realm, toying with humans for their amusement. Shakespeare’s Supernaturals is a romp through the Bard’s Faerie world.

Shakespeare’s Supernaturals is a collaborative project of Walking the dog Theater and Nikita Productions.

Photos by Dan Region.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story

Directed by Ted Pugh

Performed by David Anderson

Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season!

“Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2015

The Winter’s Tale

The Winter's TaleWalking the dog Theater collaborates with NIKITA Productions to present William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale at the Hawthorne Valley School Hall in Ghent this July 9-19. Director Melania Levitsky describes the play as a venture “from prosperity, through destruction, to regeneration and renewal.” With Jae Yeon Yoo, Wilhelmina Sharp, Laurie Portocarrero, Christian Peterson, James Luse, Yuan Rong Liao, Simon Frishkoff, Raphael Elmasri, Rohan Edwards, Faith Compo, Paul Boothroyd, Benedicta Bertau, and David Anderson.

Photos by Mattjis Vormer.

Improv

ImprovOff Leash! presents Short and Long Form Improv

Let’s divine some plays together! Walking the dog Theater’s Off Leash! Improv Ensemble presents Short and Long Form Improv at the Hawthorne Valley School Hall in Ghent, NY on June 16, 2015 at 8:00 pm. Visiting long form improv master and Stanford University professor Lisa Rowland, who directed the ensemble last summer for performances at PS21, returns to WTD to prime the actors from WTD’s Summer 2015 production The Winter’s Tale and to perform with them for this one-night-only special event. The audience will be invited to provide some ideas, and the actors will create the plays and sketches from the audience suggestions. Players include: Lisa Rowland, Ted DesMaisons, Melania Levitsky, Benedicta Bertau, Paul Boothroyd, Nancy Rothman, and David Anderson.

Fire

FireWhat does a community do when the very reason for its existence comes under threat  from a completely mysterious and unknowably powerful force?

Gabriel Rodriguez, writer/performer of last season’s “the umbilical point”, returns to raise fresh questions and explore new pathways in the infinite landscape of Story. 

If you walk in the woods with silence and wild abandon, you may find yourself passing through into the forest that is every forest. In the center of this forest is a village. In the center of that village is a fire. This is a story about the people who tend that fire. In the moment we meet them, they stand on a threshold. For the first time in this tribe’s existence, there is true danger in the air. For the first time, something has gone wrong.

“fire” will be devised and performed by an ensemble of storytellers who have spent the past year in deep contemplation and immersive exploration at The Michael Chekhov School (michaelchekhovschool.org), a new initiative of The Actors’ Ensemble. Walking the dog Theater has the joyous opportunity to come into collaboration with the Ensemble and the Chekhov School to bring about this uniquely immersive storytelling experience.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story Directed by Ted Pugh Performed by David Anderson Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season! “Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2014

2014 Season playbills
The Umbilical Point

The Umbilical Point posterDirected by David Anderson

Written and Performed by Gabriel Rodriguez

Pablo is a little boy who lives in The City: the cement-and-girder Being born after all cities grew till their edges touched. Raised and protected by the love and wisdom of Teeka, his sister, Pablo knows of no other world but The City. A natural-born poet, he walks a steady beat through the streets of his home, blissfully unaware of being anything other than himself. But when Teeka goes missing, Pablo must go looking. Grandmother Spider (who weaves the web and is the web) and Black Cat (who walks the line between light and dark) are his guides on this strange, luminous, musical journey to lands beyond the human bubble.

A vibrant blend of devised theater, elemental movement, folklore, hip hop and spoken word, the umbilical point invites us to widen our gaze as it questions its way toward our forgotten whole.

the umbilical point is a story of sacrifice and transition.

To learn more about the umbilical point and the artistic process behind the scenes, visit www.theumbilicalpoint.com.

* Read Peter Bergman’s review in Berkshire Bright Focus *

Chekhovek

Chekhovek playbillChekhovek began its life on stage three years ago as Walking the dog Theater’s 2009 Season opener. The show, originally called VIRTUE DESIRE DEATH and FOOLISHNESS, had a terrific four-week run at our theater at the Basilica Industria in Hudson, NY…

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story

Directed by Ted Pugh

Performed by David Anderson

Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season!

“Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2013

2013 season playbills
The Gospel of John

By John the Evangelist, in a translation by Kalmia Bittleston
U.S. Premiere produced by Walking the dog Theater in 2007
Originally devised by TaurusVoice Company, U.K.
Directed by Adrian Locher with Benedicta Bertau

Presented in a way that makes the Gospel accessible to anyone, this 100-minute performance is a breathtaking journey into one of the world’s most beloved stories. The fast-paced action evokes all the tenderness, intimacy, passion, anger, and mystery of John the Evangelist’s poetic masterpiece.

Three actors, using only two chairs, a table, and a few cloths bring to life the drama and poetry of the Gospel with stunning simplicity and imagination.

“An exceptional piece of stagecraft. It combines storytelling, minimalist production design and a sort of Greek chorus to tell the story of the Gospel simply and without preaching…

“No matter what your religious belief-or lack of it-The Gospel of John is an extraordinary evening of theater. You’ll find yourself thinking about it, even discussing it with others, for days afterwards. What could be more rewarding?”

-Bruce G. Hallenbeck, The Independent

“One terrific story, with plot twists and turns that are classic. Riveting. Dynamic. A wonder. Terrific. The play has resonance and strength… triumphs and mysteries.”

-J. Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus

Long Ago & Far Away, Time Flies

Long Ago & Far Away, Time Fliesby David Ives

Walking the dog Theater returns for its sixth season at the Tent with an evening of comedic short plays by contemporary American playwright David Ives. His plays’ verbal dexterity, theatrical invention, and quirky humor have made him popular with audiences and critics alike. His full-length play Venus in Fur recently had an award-winning run on Broadway.

View Long Ago and Far Away, Time Flies Rehearsal Photo Gallery

View Long Ago and Far Away, Time Flies Production Photo Gallery

LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY, a domestic drama of a troubled young wife who finds herself crossing through time – and identities – on a fateful winter evening in an empty apartment.

A SINGULAR KIND OF GUY, about a young guy who finally figures out who he really is, just in time to meet someone who might be his perfect complement.

DR FRITZ or, The Forces of Light, a metaphysical examination of God and Sigmund Freud, based on a story Ives read in the New York Times.

DEGAS C’EST MOI, the story of an unemployed drifter who decides to spend his day being painter Edgar Degas.

ARABIAN NIGHTS, the story of utterly normal Norman who walks into utterly ordinary Flora’s shop looking for a souvenir of his travels and together they find whirlwind romance, spurred on by a wacky translator.

Plus two other surprise short comedies…

Money

Money playbilla WTD theater event
in collaboration with
NIKITA Productions

Stories Questions Poetry Social Action Improv Cash

Conceived and hosted by

David Anderson Benedicta Bertau Melania Levitsky

Last year we took up a theme which asked us to face our relationship to death, using different creative means to open up its sometimes-difficult or fearful aspects.

The warm and enthusiastic response and the popularity of the production affirmed this more intimate approach and a way of sharing a theme with an audience. It seems together we have created a new theatrical form (at least according to one reviewer)!

After The Death Show, a few people approached us and said: “the only thing I fear more than death is money, or not having enough” or “I have more anxiety around money than I do around death.” This feedback, from different sources, inspired us to enter another potentially-uncomfortable area and to look at how we might explore, and maybe even illuminate, our relationship to money.

Meet your money guru, maybe win the raffle, and prepare to part with your prejudices, your preconceptions, and your pennies!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story

Directed by Ted Pugh

Performed by David Anderson

Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season!

“Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2012

2012 season posters
Chekhovek

Chekhovek Chekhovek began its life on stage three years ago as Walking the dog Theater’s 2009 Season opener. The show, originally called VIRTUE DESIRE DEATH and FOOLISHNESS, had a terrific four-week run at our theater at the Basilica Industria in Hudson, NY…

The Gospel of John

By John the Evangelist, in a translation by Kalmia Bittleston
U.S. Premiere produced by Walking the dog Theater in 2007
Originally devised by TaurusVoice Company, U.K.
Directed by Adrian Locher with Benedicta Bertau

Presented in a way that makes the Gospel accessible to anyone, this 100-minute performance is a breathtaking journey into one of the world’s most beloved stories. The fast-paced action evokes all the tenderness, intimacy, passion, anger, and mystery of John the Evangelist’s poetic masterpiece.

Three actors, using only two chairs, a table, and a few cloths bring to life the drama and poetry of the Gospel with stunning simplicity and imagination.

“An exceptional piece of stagecraft. It combines storytelling, minimalist production design and a sort of Greek chorus to tell the story of the Gospel simply and without preaching…

“No matter what your religious belief-or lack of it-The Gospel of John is an extraordinary evening of theater. You’ll find yourself thinking about it, even discussing it with others, for days afterwards. What could be more rewarding?”

-Bruce G. Hallenbeck, The Independent

“One terrific story, with plot twists and turns that are classic. Riveting. Dynamic. A wonder. Terrific. The play has resonance and strength… triumphs and mysteries.”

-J. Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus

The Cherry Orchard

The Cherry Orchard posterAnton Chekhov’s, The Cherry Orchard
Directed by David Anderson
Produced by Walking the dog Theater in association with PS21, Inc.

One of the masterworks of world theater is performed in PS21’s beautiful rural setting which echoes the themes and images of the play. In The Cherry Orchard Chekhov masterfully moves between the comic and tragic as the play explores with profound heartfelt complexity the characters’ responses to radical changes in society and their circumstances.

“…it seemed there was no better place on earth than our orchard…” – Mme Ranevsky, The Cherry Orchard

The Death Show (a recital)

The Death Show (a recital)Conceived and facilitated by Melania Levitsky

created and performed by
David Anderson, Glenn Barrett, Benedicta Bertau,
Laura Geilen, Melania Levitsky

with material from Walt Whitman, Rudyard Kipling, William Shakespeare, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Merwin Lewis, Dorothy Parker, Rainer Maria Rilke, Tommaso Albinoni,Gustav Mahler, John Donne, and participants

“As with every other looming terror or looming temptation, we seek ways to deny the power of death and the icy hold in which it grips human thought. Its constant closeness has always inspired traditional methods by which we consciously and unconsciously disguise its reality, such as folk tales, allegories, dreams, and even jokes. In recent generations, we have added something new: we have created a method – the method of modern dying. Modern dying takes place in the modern hospital, where it can be hidden, cleansed of its organic blight, and finally packaged for modern burial. We can now deny the power not only of death but of nature itself. We hide our faces from its face, but still we spread our fingers just a bit, because there is something in us that cannot resist a peek.” 

– Sherwin B. Nuland MD, Surgeon and Medical Historian, Yale University in “How We Die – Reflections of Life’s Final Chapter”, published by Alfred A. Knopf

This project is our peek at death, our home-grown effort to cope with death in general, with the deaths of our loved ones, and, impossibly, with our own deaths. The mythology is strong, that death will be dignified, pain-free, and, somehow, as we choose it to be. But the dignified, peaceful death is the extreme exception. Most deaths are painful, messy and completely degrading. But perhaps we can kindle in ourselves a different kind of dignity: we are trying to develop the courage to not look away, to lean into the humanity of humiliation…. to surrender to the unknown.

“When the human spirit departs, it takes with it the vital stuffing of life. Then only the inanimate corpus remains, which is the least of all the things that make us human.”

– Sherwin B. Nuland MD

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story

Directed by Ted Pugh

Performed by David Anderson

Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season!

“Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2011

2011 season posters
Who Am I This Time?

Who Am I This Time? posterTwo stories by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Performed by Glen Williamson*

Vonnegut at his most human and heartwarming.

Kurt Vonnegut’s zany characters will come to life at Space 360 as New York actor Glen Williamson (Member AEA) performs Who Am I This Time? (andThe Kid Nobody Could Handle).

Who Am I This Time? is a wacky yet moving comedy about a small-town production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Williamson’s delightful portrayal of all the amateur actors (and the characters they play) has been widely acclaimed in performances throughout North America and Europe over the past fifteen years.   The great American writer’s hyperbolic narrative turns out to be wonderfully theatrical.

In The Kid Nobody Could Handle, a trumpet and a pair of boots compete for the soul of a destructive teenager, as a kind and gregarious high school band teacher confronts a humorless foster father.

This production comes to Hudson after appearing Off Broadway in the United Solo Theatre Festival in 2010.

*Member, Actors’ Equity Association

EURYDICE Love. Loss. Memory. Mischief.

EURYDICE Love. Loss. Memory. Mischief.By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by David Anderson
Music by Jonathan Talbott (with the Rosamund Trio)
Costumes by Katie-Jean Wall
Set by Wendy Frost
Lighting by Bradley Fay

With Paul Boothroyd, Ron Komora*, Nancy Rothman*, Chris Smith, Rachel Storey, Pooja Karina Thomas, and Helena Zay
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association

A 21st century reimagining of the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine.

“RHAPSODICALLY BEAUTIFUL. A weird and wonderful new play – an inexpressibly moving theatrical fable about love, loss and the pleasures and pains of memory.” -The New York Times

The Lost Frontier of America

The Lost Frontier of America posterA new theater piece written and devised by David Anderson
with Ted Pugh and Fern Sloan,
with text from Ralph Waldo Emerson and others

Directed by Ted Pugh and Fern Sloan

With Brigitte Choura and David Anderson

Set by Wendy Frost
Lighting by Deena Pewtherer

Walking the dog Theater opens the third professional production of its 2011 Season with THE LOST FRONTIER OF AMERICA at Space 360, 360 Warren Street in Hudson, October 27-November 5, 2011.

Directed by Ted Pugh and Fern Sloan of The Actors’ Ensemble, and performed by David Anderson and Brigitte Choura in an original, devised theater piece, with text from Ralph Waldo Emerson and others, THE LOST FRONTIER OF AMERICA is one character’s reckoning with the haunting power and unfulfilled ghost of Emerson’s quintessentially American essay: “Self-Reliance.”

Set in the context of a 21st century diner, the character encounters the limitations of his current life and situation and uncovers the possibilities and the unclaimed legacy of Emerson’s visionary essay. A journey of discovery that dramatically and humorously comes to terms with what it might mean to be fully human and fully American.

Finding Fathers

Finding Fathers posterBy Eddie Allen and Rob Leo Roy
Performed by Eddie Allen and Rob Leo Roy
Directed by David Anderson

Walking the dog Theater presents its fourth professional production of the 2011 Season with FINDING FATHERS at Space 360, 360 Warren Street, in Hudson, from November 18-December 11, 2011.  A new theater piece devised and written by Eddie Allen and Rob Leo Roy, FINDING FATHERS follows the story of two men in remarkably similar situations and how they find friendship and a shared quest to know what it means to be a father.

Allen and Roy, two beloved members of Walking the dog Theater’s Off Leash! Improv Ensemble, seek out the fathers they barely knew and, along the way, discover the fathers that they want to be.  Directed by David Anderson, and performed by Allen and Roy, the production will feature original music composed and performed by Jonathan Talbott.

 

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens’ classic and beloved holiday story

Directed by Ted Pugh

Performed by David Anderson

Now a tradition for 10 years with WTD, the performance of this timeless story continues its evolution.  Let Dickens’ classic story inspire the spirit of the Holiday Season!

“Everything David Anderson touches has two crucial elements: clarity and humanity.”  – Marion Hunter, CCScoop.com

 

 

Photos by Daniel Region regionsphotos.com

2010

Becoming Frederick Douglass & The Starry Road to Freedom

“Phil Darius Wallace should run for office. His portrayal of the seminal abolitionist Frederick Douglass is so compelling and natural that one almost wants him to parlay the role into public service… powerful… an auspicious one-man show.”

-Times-Union, Albany

Frederick Douglass, an honorable man whose name may be familiar, but whose honorable deeds have been mostly forgotten, was born into slavery on a plantation in Maryland in 1818.  He escaped, educated himself, and became a leader in the abolitionist movement, an author, orator, social reformer, feminist, statesman, and advisor to President Lincoln. The story of his life is a call to action in crucial times. At the end of his life, Douglass said that the struggle was not over.  The transformation from slave to man that defined his life was not finished.

Becoming Frederick Douglass is a new one-man play based on three sources by Frederick Douglass. Adapted by Melania Levitsky, the production premiered with Walking the dog Theater in Hudson, NY, on December 10, 2010. Using Fredrick Douglass’ words exclusively, this powerful collage of parts of his first autobiography, his “Letter to his Former Master”, and “What to the American Slave is the Fourth of July?” forms a compact and explosive whole that continues and revives the conversation about what it means to become a fully human being, while also exploring Douglass’ vision of the becoming of America.

“This play is a path straight to compassion for our own history as a nation.  Each person who sees it will help our country grow in conscience and awareness.  Thank you to Melania Levitsky who formed it out of Douglass’ words, and to Darius Wallace who invites us to breathe into this man’s own experience as a fellow American.  Take a front seat. Don’t miss it.”

– Wendy Noyes

“Phil Darius Wallace is original, exciting, dynamic. He possesses a strong fine voice. He is good looking and holds the stage well. He is the sort of actor that people want to meet, need to touch…”

– BerkshireBrightFocus

“A riveting hour of theatrical truth (…) this compelling drama of American Slavery as seen through the eyes of Frederick Douglass seems contemporary in that it is a call to brotherhood rather than greed and enslavement…” 

-Register-Star


Frederick Douglass for younger audiences: The Starry Road to Freedom

Written by Phil Darius Wallace

The Starry Road to Freedom is a one-man show about Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent figures in African American history and one of the most influential lecturers and authors in American history. He was a firm believer in the equality of all people whether black, American Indian, recent immigrant or the rights of females. In the show, Phil Darius Wallace performs numerous characters in Fredrick Douglass’ life.

Wallace skillfully plays the role of Frederick Douglass as a little boy along with other characters such as his powerful and loving grandmother, his cruel slave master, and finally Douglass as a free adult. These characters gather into forming a mesmerizing show. The performance includes music, dancing, singing, monologues and poetry. The most powerful message delivered in the story is how education completely transformed Frederick Douglass’ life.

You will be transfixed by the variety in Frederick Douglass’ story. It is an opportunity to meet a man who was an American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer through the talent of actor Phil Darius Wallace.

Age Group: Kindergarten – Grade 7

Format: Half day schedule: 1 or 2 performances, 45 minute assemblies. Full day schedule: 2 to 4 performances, 45 minute assemblies

Length: Minimum show time required for Lower elementary performance is 20-25 minutes total.

Size: Recommended maximum per performance: Elementary school 275 students
Presentation area: No special requirements Assistance: A short introduction by a school representative. Someone to assist with sound.

Set-up time: Set-up and take down is 15 minutes.

Content: Frederick’s life, slavery and transformation through education. An authentic costumed portrayal of Frederick Douglass. This program is in assembly format only for full and half days.

Workshops with the actor are available upon request.

Click here for the Study Guide for The Starry Road to Freedom

Click for Biography of Frederick Douglass

Phil Darius Wallace was born in Flint Michigan. He attended Interlochen Arts Academy where he studied theatrical arts. He then attended SUNY Purchase Theatre Arts School in New York, a school of professional theatre. His first professional role was Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which was performed at Michigan’s Shakespeare Festival. Later, he became a company member of Flint Youth Theatre where he performed various children shows. It was during this time that he wrote and produced a one-man show on the life of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Fredrick Douglas. Phil Darius Wallace began touring his one-man shows around the country through mobile productions which has been seen in forty-eight states. The show Malcolm X received rave reviews by the LA Times and LA Weekly. He recently finished shooting the movie Nothing But the Truth with Kate Beckinsale and Matt Dillon. He is currently in post production on his own movie, 100 Lives, which he wrote, directed and produced.

Visit the Phil Darius Wallace website

Melania Levitsky is the Associate Artistic Director of WTD. Other recent adaptations/direction are: the 2009 WTD production of Virtue, Desire, Death, and Foolishness, an Evening ofTales from Chekhov,  The Gold in the Groundwhich WTD toured for a year in 2005-6, and which Melania is currently making into a children’s book. Recent roles include: Olivia, Rosalind, Cyrano.

A Christmas Carol
Painting Churches

Painting Churchesby Tina Howe

Featuring Ted Pugh*, Fern Sloan*, and Sandra Struthers*
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association

Directed by David Anderson

Piano: Gili Melamed-Lev
Set:  Wendy Frost
Props & Costumes: Elizabeth Frishkoff
Lighting: Deena Pewtherer

Gardner and Fanny Church are preparing to move out of their Beacon Hill house to their summer cottage on Cape Cod. Gardner, once a famous poet, now is retired. He slips in and out of senility as his wife valiantly tries to keep them both afloat. They have asked their daughter, Mags, to come home and help them move. Mags agrees, for she hopes as well to finally paint their portrait. She is now on the verge of artistic celebrity herself and hopes, by painting her parents, to come to terms with them and they with her. Mags triumphs in the end as Fanny and Gardner actually step through the frame and become a work of art ineffable and timeless.

“Beautifully written… A theatrical family portrait that has the shimmer and depth of Renoir portraits.” – N.Y. Times

Photos by Dan Region

GhostWALK Hudson
Bon Appetit!

Bon Appetit!BON APPETIT! is an evening of theater and opera celebrating Julia Child, her discovery of French food and French cooking. This performance event, conceived of and directed by Benedicta Bertau juxtaposes in a unique way the words of Julia Child with song and opera.

Actress Johnna Murray will bring Julia Child’s words as excerpted from her autobiography “My Life In France” written with Alex Prud’homme to life on stage.

Columbia County residents Mary Deyerle Hack and Nina Fine (both mezzo-sopranos) and Gili Melamed Lev (piano) will bring their talents to the musical aspects of the evening: Leonard Bernstein’ mini song cycle “La Bonne Cuisine” (four recipes) and Lee Hoiby’s chocolate-cake-baking opera “Bon Appetit!,” a one-woman piece based on Julia Child’s cooking show. Favorites like “La Vie en Rose” and “I Love Paris” will also be heard.

And as an added sense experience, a Columbia County pastry chef will offer chocolate cake samples for the audience to enjoy after every one of the only 8 shows!

Bon Appetit! the playPresented in the adventurous and romantic setting of the Basilica Industria in Hudson, this evening of theater invites audiences to experience some of the life and spirit of an exceptional woman: Julia Child came to France in 1948 with her husband Paul who worked as an artist for the United States Information Service. She was 36 years old when she discovered her life’s passion: French Cuisine. Bon Appetit! will take the audience into the whirlwind of Julia and Paul Child’s arrival in France, Julia’s discovery of a culture new to her, the awakening of her passion for French cooking, and the indelible legacy she left with her TV cooking shows. WTD’s production is a tribute to Julia Child’s generous spirit, her funny, colorful, and fearless personality, as well as her unmistakably American “can-do” attitude which inspired American home cooks and America to renew its relationship to food, cooking, and eating.

After the two first parts (the theater piece and the opera, we invite you to join us in the lobby for mini samples of chocolaty creations, graciously donated by local pastry chefs known and unknown.

Photo by Daniel Region

Our Town

Our Town playbillWalking the dog Theater returns to PS/21 to stage one of the most enduring American plays ever; a classic portrait of small town life with all of the sadness, joy, truth and stark profundity that defines it. Theater critic Frank Rich of NYT closed a recent review with: “The true American faith endures in Our Town.”

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the second of his seven novels, and received the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). His hit play The Matchmaker (1954) was adapted as the musical Hello, Dolly! and he enjoyed enormous success as a teacher, lecturer, translator and adaptor, actor and librettist. His screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943) remains a classic psycho-thriller to this day. Wilder’s many honors include the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Committee’s Medal for Literature.

2009

A Christmas Carol
GhostWALK Hudson
I Take Your Hand In Mine

By Carol Rocamora

A play based on the love letters of Anton Chekhov and Olga Knipper

Directed by Benedicta Bertau

This is the love story between two exceptional people: Anton Chekhov, famous playwright and lover of humanity, and Olga Knipper, founding member and leading lady for the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre.

Olga and Anton knew each other for six years, the last three of which they were married, until his death in 1904.

During the short time they knew each other, Olga and Anton wrote over 400 letters to each other. Here is their story, in their own words.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth NightDirected by Adrian Locher

Featuring: Eddie Allen*, David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau, Paul Boothroyd, Alexander Gifford, Melania Levitsky*, Ashley Mayne, Wayne Pyle*, Jake Woods. *Member of Actors’ Equity Association

Lighting Design: Christine Wopat
Set Design: Katie Jean Wall
Costumes: Emily Maynard
Music: Jonathan Talbott

After last year’s hit production of Under Milk Wood, WTD is delighted to renew its connection with PS/21 Chatham: The company will bring it’s unmistakable style of Ensemble Theater and passion for the work of William Shakespeare to this beloved comedy. This vibrant international ensemble of actors will take you on a journey that includes shipwreck, mistaken identities, unrequited love, feisty servants and scheming relatives…come join us for a summer night of love in all its guises!

Adrian Locher and Alexander Gifford, both of whom are award-winning, professional directors and actors with a background in stage and film, are the artistic directors of the Gloucester Theatre Company, the resident company of the newly-reopened Picturedrome Theatre in Gloucester, England.

Adrian Locher and Alexander Gifford also run the nearby ASHA Centre, an international retreat and conference venue. Adrian and Alexander host a programme at the Centre called Peace through the Performing Arts, producing plays each year with a mixed group of Jewish and Arab teenagers from Israel.

This project, championing the young as effective bringers of peace, has now been extended to a group of young South Africans from the townships of Johannesburg.

Virtue, Desire, Death and Foolishness - An Evening of Tales from Anton Chekhov

Chekhov play castAdapted for the stage and directed by
Melania Levitsky

These stories most concisely express his sentiments about the human character: we are beautiful and ridiculous and funny and heartbreaking.Anton Chekhov loved people. He wrote hundreds of short  stories. They came easily to him. These stories  are filled with the compassion and humor of an observer who is both uncle and journalist, critic and poet, witnessing episodes in the lives of a vast array of flawed men and women.

With Eddie Allen*, David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau, Rob Roy*, Celia Schaefer*

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association

the cast of Virtue, Desire, Death and Foolishness Walking the dog Theater is proud to present a selection of Anton Chehkov’s tales with music and song and a grand tip of the hat.

Photos by Dan Region

2008

A Christmas Carol
Under Milk Wood

by Dylan Thomas
Directed by David Anderson

To begin at the beginning: 
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows’ weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now…

We are delighted to have been invited to collaborate with Judy Grunberg of PS21 in Chatham, New York on a production of Dylan Thomas’s masterpiece UNDER MILK WOOD. The Tent at PS21 is a wonderful new performance structure (opened in 2006) on the outskirts of the village of Chatham. Set in the bucolic rolling hills of Columbia County, it is a beautifully shaped, futuristic semi-open space that houses an exciting summer season of music and dance performances, and events for the community.

Walking the dog Theater’s UNDER MILK WOOD is conceived as a visual feast that will focus on the actors in a space lit as if for dance. Originally written for the radio, UNDER MILK WOOD unfolds before the audience’s eyes and ears as a series of vignettes. Walking the dog Theater’s production will be a moving, speaking, ever-evolving tableau. Deena Pewtherer’s lighting will highlight the dream-like, sometimes almost-photographic quality of the scenes, while David Anderson’s direction will place movement, atmosphere, and the poetic language at the center of the audience’s experience.

The ensemble of actors will incarnate the 63 colorful characters of this little Welsh coast town. Clad in simple, easily transformable costumes the actors will move from part to part using a few defining props and accessories, as well as their skills of transformation and imagination.

An evening of poetry turned theater, UNDER MILK WOOD will invite you onto a journey filled with imagination, humor, and pure life.

Under Milk Wood Reviews

“Magical stagecraft”
Click Here to read Bruce Hallenbeck’s review for The Independent

“His actors are the real thing. They resonate reality…”
Read J. Peter Bergman’s glowing review by clicking here. 

production photos by Daniel Region – RegionsPhotos.com

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat posterBy Bill Manhoff

Directed by Ted Pugh
Assistant Director: Fern Sloan

Performing June 26th-July 20th, 2008
at Walking the dog Theater/Basilica Industria
110 South Front Street
Hudson, NY

The perfect comedy for your summer!

Directed by Ted Pugh and assistant directed by Fern Sloan, who co-directed I MIGHT BE EDGAR ALLAN POE earlier this season, and performed by David Anderson and Ashley Mayne, with lighting design by Deena Pewtherer and set designs by Nick Thielker, the story follows the unusual relationship of a prostitute/aspiring actress and an uptight wannabe writer as they, against their better judgment, fall in love.

Not recommended for children younger than 14 years of age.

Photos by Dan Region

Miracle Tomato
Red Carnations x2

Red Carnations 2 posterDirector: Benedicta Bertau

Music Director: Gili Melamed-Lev

Vocal Director: Mary Deyerle Hack

Play with actors Vanessa Graymason, Nikolas Geilen, and Ted Phelps

Opera featuring singers Mary Ellen Assue (Soprano), Patrick Layton (Tenor), and Steven Marking (Baritone)

Performances at Walking the dog Theater/Basilica Industria, 110 S. Front Street, Hudson, New York

In a unique occasion to see a play and the opera based on it side by side, this evening will bring to life the amusing story of an afternoon in the park. Neither Walking the Dog Theater nor Diamond Opera Theater has been able to find evidence of anyone performing a double bill comprising a play and an opera, both on the same text. Two men, one young, one more mature, wait for a young lady. Each of them wears a red carnation to be recognized. Confusion, romantic expectations, and the comic situation all illustrate the importance of getting to know a person before proceeding to romance.

The opera, composed by Columbia County’s Robert Baksa, who also wrote the libretto, uses the same scenario. It was commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Metropolitan Opera Studio and was premiered by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Both Diamond Opera Theater and Walking the Dog Theater are committed to bringing live opera and theater to the area’s young people. In addition to the four scheduled performances, there will be a free open rehearsal on Wednesday early evening, May 14, for local middle and high school students. This event will include a discussion with the composer and directors about differences in outlook and performance demands between a play and an opera, as well as the challenges of turning a play script into a viable libretto.

The Minikin Opera of Maryland, which toured the piece for two seasons, called the work “a wonderful introduction to opera for all ages.”

This event is made possible (in part) with public funds from the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered through the Twin Counties Cultural Fund in Columbia County by the Columbia County Council on the Arts.

I Might Be Edgar Allen Poe

I Might Be Edgar Allen Poe posterBy Dawson Nichols
Directed by Ted Pugh and Fern Sloan
With directorial assistance from John McManus
Performed by Dale March

Since Joseph’s admission to Oakbrook after “the incident with the fire”, he has endured endless therapy sessions, but not without coming up with a few ideas of his own.  In fact, he has discovered that he might be the master of horror fiction himself, Edgar Allan Poe.  Taking matters into his own hands, Joseph unearths some of the more cryptic metaphysical insights of the 20th Century as he subjects himself, his doctors and his fellow patients to a humorous and disturbing analysis of his own.

“Engaging, amusing and disturbing all at once”  –The Scotsman

“Will give anyone unfamiliar with his (Poe’s) writings a thrilling introduction”  –The West Australian

“A bravely intense and purely creative work”  –BUZZCUTS

2007

Daemons

A SUITE OF ONE-ACTS
Bertolt Brecht: The Beggar or the Dead Dog
Archibald MacLeish: Nobodaddy
Max Freund: Reflections of Dæmons
Directed by Benedicta Bertau, David Anderson, and Patrick Doyle.
With David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau, Patrick Doyle, and Aaron J. March.
Music and Soundscape by Jonathan Talbott.
Illumination by Deena Pewtherer.

The three rarely seen theater pieces include Bertolt Brecht’s Beggar or the Dead Dog, Archibald MacLeish’s Nobodaddy, and the world premiere of Max Freund’s Reflections of a Daemon. The Beggar or the Dead Dog, one of the lesser known one-acts by Bertolt Brecht, paints an emperor’s encounter with a beggar on his victory day.

The world premiere of Max Freund’s Reflections of a Daemon draws vivid, strange, and humorous images of the battles of the human psyche. Nobodaddy, written in 1926, and later recreated for the radio, brings MacLeish’s poetic sensitivity to the old myth of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, divine jealousy, and the first murder.

Hamlet

by William Shakespeare
A co-production with ShakespeareAlive! and The Actors’ Ensemble
Directed by John McManus

The Actors’ Ensemble, Shakespeare Alive!, and Walking the dog Theater have all played significant roles in the cultural life of Columbia County. Each organization has explored vital questions around the art of theater and has inspired audiences with its productions. This year all three organizations are collaborating in the pursuit of theater’s most elusive play: HAMLET.

View Photo Gallery

Read Review  –   The Independent

Featuring Edgar Weinstock, Fern Sloan*, Ted Pugh*, Aaron March, Aryeh Lappin, Ben Luxon, Roberto Colosimo, Noah Davies-Mason, Lilie Bytheway-Hoy, and David Anderson.
*Member of Actors Equity Association

The Actors’ Ensemble celebrates 21 years this year; Shakespeare Alive!, 8 years, and Walking the dog Theater, 10 years. This synergistic event will mark the first time that these three Columbia County-based organizations have collaborated in a production.

 

Photos by Dan Region

Cyrano

Cyrano posterBy Jo Roets Based on the play by Edmond Rostand
Directed by Drama Desk-nominated Director, Lenard Petit
Featuring David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau, and Melania Levitsky

This fresh and playful adaptation of the classic play “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand holds all the magic, humor, romance, and tragedy of the original play while paring it down to 80 minutes and the skills of only 3 actors. There is love, violence, poetry and laughter – and, some “gender-bending,” since the actors switch roles and costumes.

The play tells the story about the brilliant swordsman and poet with an extraordinarily large nose. Cyrano’s physical looks prevent the beloved Roxane from requiting. But, in time, Roxane falls in love with Cyrano’s passionate words, though written, actually, for the handsome (but artless) Christian who is real object of affection.

The Gospel of John

By John the Evangelist, in a translation by Kalmia Bittleston
U.S. Premiere produced by Walking the dog Theater in 2007
Originally devised by TaurusVoice Company, U.K.
Directed by Adrian Locher with Benedicta Bertau

Presented in a way that makes the Gospel accessible to anyone, this 100-minute performance is a breathtaking journey into one of the world’s most beloved stories. The fast-paced action evokes all the tenderness, intimacy, passion, anger, and mystery of John the Evangelist’s poetic masterpiece.

Three actors, using only two chairs, a table, and a few cloths bring to life the drama and poetry of the Gospel with stunning simplicity and imagination.

“An exceptional piece of stagecraft. It combines storytelling, minimalist production design and a sort of Greek chorus to tell the story of the Gospel simply and without preaching…

“No matter what your religious belief-or lack of it-The Gospel of John is an extraordinary evening of theater. You’ll find yourself thinking about it, even discussing it with others, for days afterwards. What could be more rewarding?”

-Bruce G. Hallenbeck, The Independent

“One terrific story, with plot twists and turns that are classic. Riveting. Dynamic. A wonder. Terrific. The play has resonance and strength… triumphs and mysteries.”

-J. Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus

2006

The Storm

An Appalling Mistranslation of a Comedy by Plautus
Directed by Charles Kondek
With David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau, Jordan Froehlich,
James Lawrence, Laurie Portocarrero, and Frank Serpico

Subtitled “An Appalling Mistranslation After A Roman Comedy By Plautus,” the play had its successful World Premiere and run at The Globe in London last summer, which London critics called “An absolute delight” (The Independent) and “Deliciously daft” (The Times). This thoroughly modern version of a classic comedy moves Stateside this fall for its United States premiere.

A rich financial guru lost his infant daughter to kidnappers after he had given away all his money. Sold into prostitution, many years later she is washed to his doorstep by a violent storm. But how will they recognize one another?

In this new version of the Roman comedy by Plautus, itself based on an ancient Greek original, Peter Oswald combines high verse and high comedy, slapstick and pathos to examine ideas of freedom and slavery, loss and discovery.

Burn This

by Lanford Wilson

Commissioned by the Circle Repertory Company, “Burn This” first appeared in Los Angeles in 1987 to near universal praise. Set in the bohemian art world of downtown New York, this vivid and challenging drama explores the spiritual and emotional isolation of Anna and Pale, two outcasts who meet in the wake of the accidental death by drowning of a mutual friend.

Their determined struggle toward emotional honesty and liberation – by no means guaranteed at the play’s ambiguous end – exemplifies the strength, humor, and complexity of all of Pulitzer Prize-winner Lanford Wilson’s work and confirms his standing as one of America’s greatest living playwrights.

“Burn This” is a play Newsweek magazine calls, “A comedy that laughs at its own tragic roots, a love story in which the lovers are scared to death of one another, a play about art in which the strongest sensibility belongs to a character who looks upon artists as frauds… The play has a voracious vitality and an almost manic determination to drive right into the highest voltage that life can register.”

2005

The Gold in the Ground

an Iraqui Folk Tale
Adapted and directed by Melania Levitsky
music by Ashley Mayne
with David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau, Bethany Caputo,
Ashley Mayne, Daisy Noyes and Laurie Portocarrero

The motif of generosity and goodwill in this children’s story provides a reminder that the human spirit is free to make uplifting choices, and is capable of the most astonishing gifts.

Walking the dog Theater opened their children’s production of “The Gold in the Ground”, a folktale from Iraq, in July 2004 which toured New England, New York and Pennsylvania throughout the summer and fall.

2004

For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again

By Michael Tremblay
translated by Linda Bagoriau
with David Anderson and Fern Sloan
directed by Ragnar Freidank

A playwright’s homage to his mother.
A play full of humor, imagination, and love for the theater.

“For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again” is Tremblay’s homage to his mother, who nurtured his imagination, his reclusive reading habits, and his love for the theater and the arts, yet who did not live to witness the worldwide acclaim for her son’s artistic genius. In a compelling balance of humor and poignancy, Tremblay offers glimpses of himself at five different stages of their lives together, culminating in his reassurance to his dying mother immediately prior to his success as a playwright.

After the early summer run in 2004, the production was remounted for a performance at The Actors’ Ensemble Summer Theater Festival, a New England tour and a run in New York City.

Leonce and Lena

By Georg Buchner
adapted by David Anderson
directed by Benedicta Bertau
with David Anderson, Ralph Bedard, Bethany Caputo,
Ashley Mayne, Michael O’Connor and Laurie Potocarrero

Written in 1836 shortly before Büchner’s death at 23, “Leonce and Lena” follows the absurd courtship of Prince Leonce of the Kingdom of Popo and Princess Lena of the Kingdom of Pipi in a brilliant play of language. Between their pursuit of idleness and their search for genuine meaning amidst the artifice and bureaucracy of life, they find each other and marry, unsure who the other really is. “Even the most insignificant of human beings is so important that a lifetime is much too short to love him,” Leonce observes near the end of the play. Büchner’s strange and classic comedy defies description but anticipates Samuel Beckett’s absurdism and Oscar Wilde’s wit, reflecting on the ruling class of Büchner’s time and the nature of work and life.

“Leonce and Lena” premiered at The Actors’ Ensemble 2004 Summer Theater Festival followed by a two month tour of New England, New York and Pennsylvania.

The Gold in the Ground

an Iraqui Folk Tale
Adapted and directed by Melania Levitsky
music by Ashley Mayne
with David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau, Bethany Caputo,
Ashley Mayne, Daisy Noyes and Laurie Portocarrero

The motif of generosity and goodwill in this children’s story provides a reminder that the human spirit is free to make uplifting choices, and is capable of the most astonishing gifts.

Walking the dog Theater opened their children’s production of “The Gold in the Ground”, a folktale from Iraq, in July 2004 which toured New England, New York and Pennsylvania throughout the summer and fall.

2003

Macbeth

by William Shakespeare
directed by John McManus
with professional and student actors

Perhaps Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy, the play actors never name, this production collaborates students from Shakespeare Alive!, a yearlong training for youth in the art of acting, with professional actors. The production had a run in Kinderhook, NY, and in Great Barrington, MA in 2003.

2002

I Might Be Edgar Allen Poe

I Might Be Edgar Allen Poe posterBy Dawson Nichols
Directed by Ted Pugh and Fern Sloan
With directorial assistance from John McManus
Performed by Dale March

Since Joseph’s admission to Oakbrook after “the incident with the fire”, he has endured endless therapy sessions, but not without coming up with a few ideas of his own.  In fact, he has discovered that he might be the master of horror fiction himself, Edgar Allan Poe.  Taking matters into his own hands, Joseph unearths some of the more cryptic metaphysical insights of the 20th Century as he subjects himself, his doctors and his fellow patients to a humorous and disturbing analysis of his own.

“Engaging, amusing and disturbing all at once”  –The Scotsman

“Will give anyone unfamiliar with his (Poe’s) writings a thrilling introduction”  –The West Australian

“A bravely intense and purely creative work”  –BUZZCUTS

2001

Hamlet

Text from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Music by Merwin Lewis (words by William Blake),
Henry VIII, Thomas Morley, William Byrd, John Dowland,
and Kathryn Minogue
directed by the performing ensemble, with David Anderson,
Benedicta Bertau, Melania Levitsky and Kathryn Minogue

There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.
Hamlet, Act V, scene 2

On the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s conception of Hamlet Walking the dog Theater presents an ensemble production created out of a perspective on his masterful tragedy, in movement, drama, music, and masks. Developed through ensemble work out of a wish to understand and dramatize the inner processes that lead up to Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s fall, and working with selections from William Shakespeare’s text, the performance focuses on Hamlet’s struggle for true sovereignty and the casualty of innocence at the hands of a corrupt court. Revealing aspects of Hamlet, the characters around Hamlet appear in mask. One by one, these aspects fall away, overcome by the consciousness that Hamlet achieves.

William Shakespeare’s language inspired the creation of this performance.
A soul drama in the truest sense, this tragedy, which has fascinated humanity for centuries, seems to leave few minds untouched by its poignant familiarity with the deepest part of every soul. Hamlet shows us the modern man: the ultimate activity is inner activity. Though he wavers and suffers within his own introspection, which renders him immobile and outwardly inactive (against the forceful will of his dead father), he also forges a new path—one that overcomes the reactive and blind instinct (for revenge) in favor of genuine action and presence of mind. Unlike the wisdom Polonius conveys to Laertes, Hamlet wrings his truth out of a living moment. He does not draw on the past to find his way; he throws off the masks and thrashes a solitary path into the future. The tragedy (from an outer perspective) is his inability to integrate his truth with the world around him. As he clears his mind of all other considerations but those adhering to his vision, the people near him isolate him by throwing the cloak of “madness” over him.

Hamlet pursues knowledge of what is right, of who he is, endeavoring to come to his own independent sense of self. His sovereignty rests in his struggle toward a vision that incorporates all possibilities, and in his finding the courage to take the right direction. This leads to an awakening of his heart forces (“…in my heart there was a kind of fighting that would not let me sleep…thou wouldst not think how ill all’s here about my heart”) out of which any true act of will must come.

Knowledge means the death of innocence. In our drama we have pursued an understanding for the knowledge that Hamlet seeks. As the people around him serve as aspects of himself, it follows that Ophelia, the embodiment of innocence, becomes an early fall in the confrontation with knowledge.

His father plants a seed of truth in his mourning soul, and it takes root and becomes the measure for all of his existence; the center against which everything else must stand or fall away. But, in a corrupt society, bearing truth means essentially becoming an enemy of the state, an unwelcome conscience. It unsettles his thoughts and feelings, and confuses his will, as he attempts to give his private truth a relationship to the life around him. Our performance follows Hamlet from the moment the vision of truth appears to him, through his questioning, to his inability to create a home for it within the prison of Denmark.

On a personal note: Hamlet has been a companion since childhood, when dreams of him seemed to prove the indestructibility of the individual, the fearless and fierce measure of struggling towards presence. Since then he has returned on countless occasions, sometimes staying long, to test the mettle of my honesty and my connection to an inner voice. His searching has become a humbling perspective on a life.

Though Hamlet has been a reckoning force in me for years, the recent affairs of our “state” partly inspired my work on it—the election and the questions that rose up in its wake. Looking for a means to understand it all or a strength with which to see through it, I picked up the play again in December 2000. It read with relevance and gave me a voice that helped me to find an active relationship to our situation.

Foul deeds will rise
Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes…
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence’s gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft ‘tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law.

Act III, scene 3
A man steals a crown, a court resigns to silence around the questionable facts, empty talk smoothes the edge, characters concern themselves more with position than conduct, and the ethical individual fights to come to terms with the “rottenness” and maintain a sane conscience in the face of it. Our play seeks to resurrect the voice of conscience and consciousness in a time desperate for their reminder.

Hamlet shows us that true sovereignty cannot be given from without but must be wrought from within.

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will…
The readiness is all.
–Hamlet, Act V, scene 2

Dramatis Personae:
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, son of the late King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude
Ophelia, daughter of Polonius
The Masks (revealing the faces that the characters of the court show to Hamlet):
The Spirit of the late King Hamlet
Queen Gertrude, widow of King Hamlet, now married to King Claudius
King Claudius, brother to the late King Hamlet
Polonius, father of Ophelia, councilor of King Claudius
Guildenstern, courtier to the Danish Court

The Eurythmy is brought into the dramatic space when a world beyond the sense-perceptible manifests: the spirit of the late King Hamlet speaks not so much to Hamlet’s ears as directly to his heart and will forces, as the voice of his conscience. At certain moments of Hamlet’s struggle the movement offers glimpses of a soul reality creative behind the word.

–David Anderson

The Happy Man's Shirt

A humorous Scottish tale
Played for children in word, eurythmy and song
by David Anderson, Benedicta Bertau,
Melania Levitsky and Kathryn Minogue
Music: traditional Scottish, Joseph Hayden, Kathryn Minogue

The Happy Man’s Shirt tells the story of a king who has everything he could possibly wish for…except happiness. At his loving queen’s inquiry into his sadness, all the king can say is: “It’s just the way I am and I can’t help it.” But the queen seems to know better. Following the wise man’s advice, she sends the king on a journey to find the only cure for his sadness: a happy man’s shirt.

“Amidst the ingenious cacophony of electric inventions, the wise old art of storytelling is re-awakening with conscious intention…. We can speak to the future through imagination – the language of evolution.”
– Nancy Mellon, from her book “Storytelling with Children”

Blue Arches

A one-person, seven-character play in one-act

Written and Performed by Melania Levitsky

2000

The Holy Man
Adapted by David Anderson from the novel by Susan Trott Performed by David Anderson Music by Kathryn Minogue The Holy Man follows the stories of the many pilgrims who wait in line to visit the Holy Man and how they begin to see in every person they meet a “Holy Person”.

1998

Walking the dog

Walking the dog

Written by David Anderson
Music by Gillian Britton
Eurythmy by Lisa Meisinger
Directed by John McManus

“Walking the dog” began as a 45-part poem written by David Anderson over seven months in 1996. Reflecting on the challenges and questions he met during his 28th year, David probes humanity’s relationship with the dog – our perennial guardian of ordinary thresholds and our faithful companion through the thickets of everyday transitions. During that time David was working with eurythmist Lisa Meisinger on a production of Joseph Brodsky’s life and work which appeared in Forest Row and London, England.

Lisa enthusiastically greeted the themes of the poem. After sharing it with pianist/singer/composer Gillian Britton, the three of them came together in Australia to create a theater piece from it, enlisting the expertise and experienced direction of John McManus. Gillian composed seventeen songs from parts of the poem (nine of which are included in the performance “Walking the dog”), Lisa created eurythmy for other parts, and David developed the dramatic presentation, while John wove the three arts into a unified expression.

This performance, and the children’s piece “The Stone Cutter”, based on the Japanese fairy tale, toured Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland, meeting tremendous audience approval and receiving many invitations to perform elsewhere, both from schools and from arts festivals.

This, along with receiving some sponsorship, provided them with the encouragement and support to pursue a future with the company. Out of this, the connection and inspiration between the artists, their commitment to their arts, and their recognition of the necessity of this conscious-soul form of meeting with an audience, arose the foundation of a new theater.

The Stone Cutter

Walking the dog Theater presents:

The Stone Cutter

A Japanese Folktale

Dramatized with music and movement
Directed by the ensemble, with David Anderson and Lisa Meisinger

A simple tale of a stone cutter who wishes to be more than he is and the mountain spirit who hears his wishes and helps him on his journey. With characters expressed through movement and song as well as narration, an extraordinary mood is woven into the telling. People of all ages and experience enjoy the production, though it is specifically crafted for children ages 7 to 12.