NHTP Presents MEN ON BOATS By Jaclyn Backhaus

NHTP Presents MEN ON BOATS By Jaclyn BackhausUnder the command of an intrepid Civil War veteran with only one arm, ten men set out through uncharted territory in wooden rowboats on the adventure of their lifetimes. Six men completed the journey. New Hampshire Theatre Project's 30th Anniversary Season opens with the exciting adventure story Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus. History, legend, magic realism, and hilarious comedy illuminate the tale of John Wesley Powell's famous 1869 expedition down the Colorado River into the Grand Canyon.

The playwright's treatment of this grand expedition is remarkably accurate historically, even using direct quotes from Powell's lyrical journal descriptions. But she adds a twist: all the male characters, while based on the real life heroes, are portrayed by female actors. The dramatic truth of both physical heroics and conflicting emotions is especially enhanced, seen through the lens of non-traditional casting, and Backhaus' witty contemporary language evokes a tale filled with excitement, high dramatic tension, and enormous good humor.

"John Wesley Powell was an extraordinary man," says director Genevieve Aichele, "a passionate self-taught geologist, teacher, military leader and explorer. After conducting numerous scientific expeditions in the west, he went on to form the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian. In an age of rapid western expansion, Powell presented a radical new vision of the American West centered on watersheds instead of political boundaries, and predicted future water shortages if development continued at an uncontrolled pace. Sadly, his cautions were ignored, and the Colorado River of 1869 no longer even reaches the sea. Audiences will find the story of Powell's adventure resonates with many contemporary environmental issues."

The Men on Boats are played by Helen Brock, Sandi Clark, Monique Peaslee Foote, Becky Rudolf Fowler, KathyAnn Hart, Kolby Hume, Ollire Lane, Mary Langley and Stephanie Lazenby, with Leslie Pasternack portraying Major Powell. Along with director Genevieve Aichele, the production team includes Sound Designer /Stage Manager Robin Fowler, Lighting/Set Designer Quentin Stockwell, Projection Designer Catherine Stewart, Assistant Director Kate Kirkwood, and Costume Designer Frances Bechtold.

Sponsors for Men on Boats are JCM Management, Saunders & Silverstein LLC, Threshold Stage Company, John Bolduc & Anne Corriveau, and Best Western Plus Hotel and Suites.

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