Theater — Kids tackle Edgar Allan Poe

 

They want you to come a gently rapping, rapping at their Wilton theater’s door

 

By Michelle Saturley      listings@hippopress.com           

Andy’s Summer Playhouse in Wilton is redefining children’s theater with a unique summer program. The “Summer of Archaeology” starts at Andy’s Summer Playhouse on Thursday, June 30 with a performance of In Articulo Mortis: A Mesmerism in Three Fits.

The season-opener marks the debut of Carey Cahoon as the company’s managing director. Cahoon previously worked with The Palace Theatre, and directs musicals for the Anselmian Abbey Players at Saint Anselm College.

“Andy’s is different from any other children’s company I’ve seen,” Cahoon said in an April 2005 interview with Hippo. “They do all-original plays. It’s definitely not your typical children’s theater. And my favorite part is how the instruction is so process-oriented. It’s not just about the performance. It’s about all aspects of theater.”

While other kids’ theatrical groups are putting on shows about Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland, Andy’s season opener explores the nightmares of Edgar Allan Poe. The show centers on a writer who is desperate to find a cure for his dying love, but when he realizes he cannot save her body, he decides his only hope is to preserve her mind. Using the technique of hypnosis, he sets out on a journey into the mind of M. Valdemar. Enter Rufus Wilmot Griswold, the writer’s arch-nemesis, who will stop at nothing to see that the procedure is botched. He slips into Valdemar’s bedchamber just as the writer is commencing the mesmeric passes. Suddenly, the writer loses control of his beloved patient, and he is transported into a nightmarish void from which there is only one escape: death. The original script is by Erik White and Johnathan Farmer, both actors and writers living in New York who are New Hampshire natives.

In Articulo Mortis features performances by child actors from all over the state. The youngest performer is 9 and the oldest is 18. It’s the first in a series of challenging , thought-provoking plays presented by and for children.

“‘The Summer of Archaeology’ challenges us to dig deep within ourselves to discover the meaning of humanity,” said Bob Lawson, artistic director. “You’ll be amazed by the sophisticated level of the theater produced by Andy’s kids.”

Andy’s programs foster creative collaborations between children and professional artists who work in a variety of media: performance art, theater, dance, music, puppetry, video, set and lighting design and playwriting. In the 35 years of its existence, Andy’s has grown from a summer play produced by two school teachers to its current state as a fully equipped summer theater with a staff of more than 30 professional artists, involving more than 200 children and more than 3,500 audience members each year. Andy’s Summer Playhouse received the 2004 New Hampshire Theatre Award for Best Youth Theatre.

In Articulo Mortis runs June 30-July 3 and July 7-8 at 7:30 p.m. A matinée performance is scheduled for Wednesday, July 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. Andy’s is located at 582 Isaac Frye Highway in Wilton. For more information, visit www.andyssummerplayhouse.org or call 654-2613 to order tickets.

 
2005 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH