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Under Milkwood

Danny Snow’s adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s "Under Milkwood" has finished it’s run at the Waldron Arts Center. I got to it too late to recommend that you go and see it, but I would have. Snow with a very talented cast and choreography by and realization with members of the Windfall Dancers was very successful. They brought Dylan Thomas’s wonderful wordy world and marvelous eccentrics to life. Characters that I had only heard as voices in old recordings walked about the stage in full view. They talked, thought, reflected, thought, loved and played out a full day in their lives. It was quite special.

The big upstairs room of the Waldron had seats on three sides. Two narrators, Dan Snow and Rachael Hamilton, flanked by fiddler and music director Erin Shrader faced the center of the audience. Characters entered from either side of them and played out their parts mostly in solo or small group settings around the floor. The actors all got to play multiple parts. Actress Katie Alheim alternated as the glowingly virtuous Gossamer Beynon and the earthy town trollope Polly Garter. Gabriel Lewin was the dignified Captain Cat and the wildly humorous would be wife poisoner Mr. Pugh.I hope that the variety was as much fun for them as it was for the audience.

Choreography for "Under Milkwood" was by Cara Gray, Hope Hoffman and Scott Jones. The Windfall Dancers were featured both as dancers and actors in the production. The choreography of the entire sleepy town wandering bunched together at beginning and end of the show was very amusing. A sort of "river dance" sequence neatly pointed up the general atmospher of female come-hither and male standoffishness.

I can’t leave a review of "Under Milkwood" without telling you that fiddler Erin Shrader was a delightful part of the life of the play. Her music fit the words, joined in setting the tones and frequently spiced up the action. I also need to mention that in addition to being a fine narrator, Rachael Hamilton is a walking sound effects library with a range from birds and animals right on to light farm machinery.

I really enjoy going to see plays. It’s one of my favorite out-of-the-house recreations and I get to see quite a few. The other day it occurred to me that when I go to the theatre, I expect miracles. I fully believe that characters will appear, stories will be told and mysteries raveled and unraveled. Frequently, despite incredible odds and usually only part of the time, it happens.

Saturday night’ performance of "Under Milkwood" in the production directed by Dan Snow was one of those happenings. I left the Waldron Arts center looking forward to the next entry in their season, Gilbert and Sullivan’s "The Mikado."

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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