David T. Little's DOG DAYS OPERA Premieres at Alexander Kasser Theater Now thru 10/7
Tonight, September 29, David T. Little's long-awaited debut full-length opera, Dog Days, created in collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek, and based on the eponymous short story by Judy Budnitz (1998), receives its world premiere, opening a run of five performances: tonight, Sep. 29 and Oct. 6 at 8:00 PM; Sep. 30, Oct. 7 at 3:00 PM; Oct. 5 at 7:30 PM. The fully-staged production, directed by RoBert Woodruff, premieres at Montclair State University's Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair, NJ.
Says Morrison, "Naturally, I was thrilled when JEd Wheeler approached me to produce Dog Days with Peak Performances. First, because I consider Jed to be one of the true visionaries in the presenting field, and because the kind of commissioning and production support that he was indicating for the project is nearly unheard of in the industry. Jed's commitment to the creation of new work in the contemporary performing arts field, and to the furthering of new opera, makes him nearly singular in the field."
Based on the 1998 short story by Judy Budnitz, Dog Days investigates the psychology of a working class American family against a not-so-distant-future wartime scenario. It asks: is it madness, delusion, or animal instinct that guides us through severely trying times? Where exactly is the line between animal and human? At what point must we give in to our animal instincts merely to survive? Told predominantly from the perspective of Lisa (Lauren Worsham, soprano), a thirteen-year-old girl, we watch as the world slowly falls apart around her. Her family progressively starves, her mother (Marnie Breckenridge, soprano) gives up on life, and her father, Howard (James Bobick, baritone), struggles to fulfill his own myth of the provider. Her brothers, Pat and Elliot (Peter Tantsits and Michael Marcotte, tenors), get in trouble with the military state, as represented by Soldier/Apparatchik (Cherry Duke, mezzo soprano), turning to misconduct and recreational drug use in a futile attempt to escape the bleakness of their lives. Prince (John Kelly), a man in a dog suit, appears on the family's doorstep begging for food. Is he mad, or the only one who can still see clearly? No one can be sure. David T. Little and Royce Vavrek's surreal adaptation of the story, developed in collaboration with director RoBert Woodruff, infuses elements of modern music-theater and rock to shape its disturbing prediction of the future.
Dog Days is a contemporary opera in three acts - Summer (Scenes 1-5), Fall (Scenes 6-9), and Winter (Scenes 10-11) - with a Prologue, a brief intermission after the first act, and a final Epilogue. Set and video design by Jim Findlay, lighting design by Matt Frey, costume design by Vita Tzykun. Duration: 127 minutes.The three-act opera features Little's acclaimed "punk-classical" chamber music group, Newspeak, and a cast of seven: performance artist John Kelly alongside singers James Bobick, Marnie Breckenridge, Cherry Duke, Michael Marcotte, Peter Tantsits, and Lauren Worsham. Alan Pierson conducts. All tickets are $15 and are available at the Alexander Kasser Theater Box Office, by calling 973-655-5112 or online at http://www.peakperfs.org.