Now in its 38th season, the Mettawee River Theatre Company will present their new production Taliesin at Beggs Point Park in Essex on Tuesday, August 6 at 8:00pm. Admission is free. Please bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on.
In case of rain, the performance will be held at Whallonsburgh Grange Hall.
This performance is sponsored by Essex Initiatives. It is made possible in part by the Essex County Arts Council CAP Grant supported by public funds from Essex County.
Taliesin is drawn from an ancient Welsh legend. It is recommended for adults and children, ages 6 to 106. For additional information, please call (518) 593-7723.
About the Show
The story of Taliesin comes from a medieval Welsh tale in which the sorceress Ceridwen cooks up a potion to give her woebegone son Morfran the gift of inspiration and wisdom. By accident the powerful elixir lands on the scruffy kid hired to stir the cauldron. He is immediately enlightened, and the sorceress is infuriated.
A shape-shifting chase follows, and ultimately the kid is re-born as Taliesin “radiant brow,” who uses his extraordinary gifts to challenge the stale conventions and treacherous intrigues at King Maelgwyn’s court.
The production will incorporate an array of giant figures, puppets and masks in this celebration of transformation and imagination.
Taliesin will be directed by Ralph Lee, who will design the masks, puppets and set. New company members Sarah Bedard, David DeSantis, Patrick Horn, Una Osato, Eddie Shields and Mettawee veteran Rob McFadyen will play multiple roles.
The script is adapted from the original legend by poet Robert Bagg. The production will feature an original musical score composed by Neal Kirkwood and performed by Ed RosenBerg on saxophone, clarinet and hammered dulcimer. Costumes are designed by Casey Compton.
About the Mettawee Theatre Company
Under the Artistic Direction of mask maker, designer and director Ralph Lee, the Mettawee River Theatre Company, founded in 1975, creates original theater productions that incorporate masks, giant figures, puppets and other visual elements with live music, movement and text, drawing on myths, legends and folklore of the world’s many cultures for its material.
The company is committed to bringing theater to people who may have little or no access to live professional performances. In his design and direction, Lee seeks to create vivid theatrical moments with economy and elegance. This search for an evocative simplicity of image and Mettawee’s commitment to making theater accessible to the widest possible audience through its outdoor performances give this theater company its particular character.
For more information about the Mettawee River Theatre Company, including a full schedule of this summer’s outdoor tour, visit the company’s web site at www.mettawee.org.
About Ralph Lee
Ralph Lee first created puppets as a child growing up in Middlebury, Vermont. He graduated from Amherst College in 1957, and studied dance and theater in Europe for two years on a Fulbright Scholarship. Upon returning to the United States, Lee acted on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theaters and with the Open Theatre. During that period he started creating masks, unusual props, puppets and larger-than-life figures for theater and dance companies, including the New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, the Living Theatre, the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Shari Lewis, the Metropolitan Opera and Saturday Night Live.
In 1974, while teaching at Bennington College, Lee staged his first outdoor production, which took place all over the college campus, and featured giant puppets and masked creatures. That same year he organized the first Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which he directed through 1985. For his work on the parade Lee received a 1975 Village Voice OBIE Award, a 1985 Citation from the Municipal Arts Society, and in 1993 he was inducted into the City Lore People’s Hall of Fame. Two of Lee’s Mettawee productions have been honored with American Theatre Wing Design Awards: The Popol Vuh in 1995 and Wichikapache Goes Walking in 1992.
Under Lee’s direction, Mettawee also received a 1991 Village Voice OBIE Award and two Citations for Excellence from UNIMA, the international puppetry organization. Additional awards to Lee include a 1996 Dance Theatre Workshop Bessie Award for “sustained achievement as a mask maker and theatre designer without equal,” and a 1996 New York State Governor’s Arts Award in recognition of his many contributions to the artistic and cultural life of New York State. In 2003, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship, one of the nation’s most prestigious honors. In 2008 Lee served as the Jim Henson Artist-in-Residence at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is currently on the faculty of New York University.
- Essex Theatre Company Benefit: Broadway Through the Years (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Get Ready for the Depot Theatre Gala Celebration (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Belden Noble Memorial Library: Beggs Collection (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)