THE RIVER WHY Comes to Book-It Rep Beginning February 9
Book-It fans have requested The River Why for many years and, just in time to include the work in the 20th Anniversary season-long celebration, the company was granted rights and a relationship
was forged with author David James Duncan. The River Why plays on Book-It Repertory Theatre's stage at the Center House Theatre February 9 through March 7, 2010.
The novel-Duncan's first-was published by The Sierra Club Press in 1983, and since then has accumulated a cult following every bit as dedicated as the fans of our earlier season offering, A Confederacy of Dunces. In The River Why, Gus Orviston, the spawn of an erudite fly-fisher and a country plunker, is a true fishing prodigy from an early age. He makes an hysterically funny, yet perceptive and moving journey of self discovery. Set in the Pacific Northwest, audiences will at once feel kinship with Gus as he leaves his quirky, fishing-obsessed family in the suburbs to search for happiness on the banks of a wild and remote Oregon river. Gus's quest for perfecting -the ideal schedule? yields to a pursuit of why and like fishing, the pursuit itself is where meaning lies.
O the gallant fisher's life,
It is the best of any!
Tis full of pleasure, void of strife,
And tis beloved by many.
-Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler (poem used as an epigraph by Duncan in The River Why)
David James Duncan is a novelist, essayist and a passionate defender of rivers and their denizens. In addition to The River Why, his books include The Brothers K, River Teeth, God Laughs and Plays, and My Story as Told by Water. -When I finished The River Why I was 28, Gus was only 21,? Duncan said about his first novel in a recent interview, -...to keep up with the times I've written some more -clenched-teeth? nonfictions.... But fiction is my true love, artistically
speaking. Writing fiction is more mysterious to me, more powerful, deeper, and, I feel, more honest than writing nonfiction.? He is currently working with American Rivers Association toward the removal of four dams on the Snake River. He makes his home in Southwestern Montana.
The River Why is adapted and directed by Myra Platt, who most recently adapted, directed, and composed music (with Josh Kohl) for the adventurous Night Flight during the 2008-09 season. Among her many other accomplishments at Book-It, Co-Artistic Director Myra Platt has adapted and directed such works as The House of the Spirits and Red Ranger Came Calling; she appeared on stage in The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and originated the role of Candy Kendall in John Irving's The Cider House Rules at Seattle Rep; she directed Persuasion and Plainsong; and.
Describing her work on the adaptation, Platt says, -Duncan's writing is a trip. ...he splashes into the story of Gus, whose fully-exposed youth is captivating and refreshingly authentic. And [Duncan] asks big questions, but doesn't pretend to have the final answers. Learning about the plight of fish and the state of our rivers has been an eye-opening experience for all of us at Book-It, and we hope we have made a small contribution toward raising awareness.?
The cast of The River Why includes Jeffrey Frieders as Gus, Mark Chamberlin as his father, H2O, Lisa Carswell as Ma, and Erica Eie as love-interest Eddy, with K. Brian Neely, Timothy Hyland, and others.
In the spirit of Gus Orviston's awakening environmental consciousness in The River Why, the company has committed to reusing and recycling materials, as much as practical and possible, in the creation of scenery; it's an affirmation of regular practice with the intention of discovering new ways to save materials otherwise destined for the landfill. It began with an appeal to patrons and peers to collect emptied water bottles-yielding more than 2,000 in all-that would become the impressionistic sculptural river designed by Scenic Designer Carey Wong. With Wong's scenery,
are costumes by Christine Meyers, lighting by Ben Zamora, and sound design by Brendan Patrick Hogan, with original music by Dave Ellis.
The company invites audiences to "Tell Your Own Fish Story." Either through email (firstname.lastname@example.org), letter, Facebook or Twitter postings, Book-It will collect the stories and place them in the lobby during the run of The River Why.