IN REVIEW by Tim Rowland
Depot Theatre’s Chesapeake
What is art, anyway? Your dog knows
Long before this thing called woke, long before we had come to understand that all the world’s problems could be solved with pronouns, there existed a simpler time in which culture-war villains had real brick-and-mortar office buildings with actual staff and budgets funded by hard-working, god-fearing taxpayers.
Back when Senators had names like Helms and Graham, nothing was more reviled than the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), whose money (your money!) was funding artistic shows featuring excrement, burning flags, or human nether regions.
Annual NEA budget fights, predictable as a setting sun through the 1990s — and a lack of understanding of art in general — led playwright Lee Blessing to pen CHESAPEAKE, the story of an envelope-pushing performance artist, Kerr, a drawling southern Senator, Pooley, and a dog(s) — all played by a single actor.
CHESAPEAKE, which opened July 20 at the Depot Theatre in Westport, was written in 1999, but the Depot has found new relevance in it today, what with the national spate of book banning in school libraries. Thirty years ago Robert Mapplethorp was giving far-right activists a case of the vapors, and today it’s Nora Roberts. Somehow that doesn’t feel like progress.
Kerr, Pooley, Pooley’s domineering wife, his assistant, Lucky the dog, and several other characters are all played by Luke Wehner in a stage-filling performance that obviously requires a sort of superhuman versatility.
Sporting a shaggy, retriever-esque hairstyle, Wehner seamlessly toggles between angry young artist and pliant pup, then morphs into one of the three southern characters as effortlessly as you can say “down boy.”
With disparate voice and gesture, and some creative lighting, the production feels rich in character, or characters, despite its being a one-man band. The set—bayside piers with a signature Annapolis-styled sail as a backdrop—is equally versatile, serving as everything from waterman’s cabin to the Senate floor.
Continued … Read the full review HERE.
Depot Theatre, 6705 Main Street, Westport
The HOWL Podcast!
A co-production between NCPR and the Adirondack Center for Writing.
-Introducing the all-new HOWL podcast, hosted by Ethan Shantie, features true stories, told with no notes, recorded live on stages all over the North Country. The podcast features an array of stories from local storytellers that just had to be shared with a bigger listening audience. Find ten of the best stories from recent years of the Howl Story Slam, now on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
The Howl podcast is now available on all major streaming platforms and from the HOWL Podcast page. Listen to the first episode, “Side Effects May Vary” with ACW board member and Howl Story Slam veteran, Jerry McGovern. You can listen HERE.
East Branch Friends of the Arts Present
Music from the Back Porch
Saturday, July 29th from 3-5 pm
The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid will be hosting local Jay author, John (J. E.) Mullane, at a sidewalk book signing to promote his latest novel Break with the Past, a sequel to Beneath the Surface. Both books, along with his standalone novel, Disturbing the Dead, will be available. Stop by and say hello.
And, don’t miss
Monday Morning Storytime with special guest Kit the therapy dog
Monday, July 31, 10 am
Our special guest storyteller, Cat Eisele, will read Hot Dog by Doug Salati and Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings. For our craft, we will decorate doggy bandanas (along with a special one for Kit the therapy dog)! Storytime is geared towards children ages 3 and up, but all children are welcome!
The Bookstore Plus, 2491 Main Street, Lake Placid
Dome Island: Forever Wild on Lake George
Wednesday, August 2, 7 pm, Free
Join us for a discussion with author Noah Chirnomas who will dive into his inspiration and process for writing his debut book on Dome Island.
This program is free but requires a reservation. Please call (518)793-2826 to reserve your spot!
Chapman Museum, 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls
Creative Aging Program
July 29, 7 – 10 pm
Join us for a night of dancing in the Lounge. DJ David Sommerstein (host of NCPR’s The Beat Authority) is back at UJAC spinning a fresh, eclectic dance mix of includes dance music from all over the world. You may hear cumbia, bluegrass, afrobeat, or jazz but it’ll all keep your body moving!
$10 Suggested Donation
Tickets and more info HERE.
Upper Jay Art Center, 12198 Rte 9N North, Upper Jay