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BWW Review: LAUGHING WILD is an Empathetic Ride at the Dorset Theater Festival

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Presented by Dorset Theater Festival at the Southern Vermont Arts Center

BWW Review: LAUGHING WILD is an Empathetic Ride at the Dorset Theater Festival The journey to LAUGHING WILD at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester starts with a drive up to the Center's main campus through a beautiful sculpture garden and ends with laughter and empathy for the human condition.

Dorset Theater Festival is reopening its in-person performances with an outdoor theater venue designed specifically for our pandemic reopening. With lawn chairs socially distanced for each group of guests and a newly designed stage, it was a great way to return to theater in Southern Vermont.

BWW Review: LAUGHING WILD is an Empathetic Ride at the Dorset Theater Festival This season's LAUGHING WILD is a ride that takes you through two seemingly separate monologues that show the insight into the innermost thoughts of two people struggling through the societal morays of 1987. It touches on the way that mental illness affects people and how their self-awareness of their ability to cope (or not cope) with living life. Both of these characters were deeply human and flawed, but ultimately that is where the humor and the empathy arises.

BWW Review: LAUGHING WILD is an Empathetic Ride at the Dorset Theater Festival The woman character, played wonderfully by Mary Bacon, is endearing and unapologetically an individual. The man character, played by Dan Butler, is heartfelt and vulnerable. Both of these actors knew where comedy and tragedy meet and were able to use that to great effect.

Audience members were taken on a wild ride through dream sequences that allowed these two character's inner worlds to collide. If you have ever practiced over and over again how you would redo a chance encounter, this play allows that to unfold until the ultimate result is how empathy for another person's struggle breaks open the last few minutes of the play.

This is a wild ride that will have you laughing at every step of the way.

Photo Credit: Joey Moro, Dorset Theater Festival


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