Following hard on the heels of a successful revival of Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Strawberry Theatre Workshop continues what's being described as "a season of agitation and propaganda" with a Second Company classic, This Land | Woody Guthrie, a play for actors and puppets derived from the music, drawing, and writing of folk artist Woody Guthrie. Strawshop’s 2004 production of This Land was the first show in the company’s history.
Woody Guthrie would have been 100 years old this July. What would he have thought of the America we’ve made? Guthrie’s America, like ours, was embattled. His world, like ours, was rocked by brutal violence, tarnished by bigotry and divisiveness, and alienated by ostentatious wealth and bitter, abject poverty. Yet, his songs describe a patriotism rooted in a deep love for Americans and a resolute belief in the idea of America, battered though it may be. “In a single lyric,” says adapter/director Greg Carter, “Woody will tear your flag down and give you a reason to pick it back up.” In This Land, puppets inspired by the photographs of dustbowl photographer Dorothea Lange bring sculptural dimension to Guthrie’s messages of hope and activism, dignifying his archetypes just as he always sought to dignify and honor the ordinary Americans he sang about.
The Seattle P-I called the 2004 production a “uniquely sophisticated…ritual celebrating human solidarity.”
About our Vanishing Discount Pricing
Strawshop is introducing a pioneering new pricing model for this show: the vanishing discount. Every single seat will be discounted for every week of the run except closing week, with the discount starting at two-thirds off full price (or $10) during opening week and gradually “vanishing” (tickets for the second week will be $15, for the third week $20, the fourth $25) until closing week, when only full price ($30) tickets will be available. Strawshop hopes that these savings will encourage patrons to attend early in the run.
About the This Land Artists
Returning cast members from the 2004 production include celebrated director and performer Sheila Daniels (director of Strawshop’s Breaking the Code, TPS Gregory Award for Outstanding Director 2010 and 2011), and Clark Sandford (Book-It’s Prairie Nocturne). Edd Key reprises his role as Musical Director. The Seattle Times said in 2004: “Several dozen Guthrie songs are performed here with conviction and twangy beauty, under the expert direction of Edd Key. (A native of Kentucky, Key clearly knows this music in his bones.)”
This Land also features Bhama Roget (Seattle Rep’s God of Carnage, Re-bar’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Don Darryl Rivera (Intiman’s A Doctor In Spite of Himself, adapter and performer of SCT’s Harold and the Purple Crayon), Rob Burgess (Strawshop’s Inherit the Wind, lyricist for SCT’s Harold and the Purple Crayon) and Margaret Savas (Strawshop’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Spyglass Puppet Theatre).
Lighting design is by Jessica Trundy (2012 TPS Gregory Award nominee for Outstanding Lighting Design for Azeotrope’s Jesus Hopped the A Train, WET’s Crave). Sound design is by Evan Mosher (2012 TPS Gregory Award nominee for Outstanding Sound Design for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s As You Like It, Strawshop’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, “Awesome” the band). Costume design is by Ron Erickson (Cornish Costume Design Area Head, Seattle Opera Wardrobe Head). The original puppets are designed by Greg Carter, Jenny Anderson, and Paul Chamberlain. New characters, designed by Carter and Katherine Stromberger have been added to the puppet company for this production.
Strawshop’s founding Artistic Director Greg Carter helms the production as adapter, director, and scenic designer. Carter learned puppets at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre in Minneapolis, where he originated This Land. Strawshop directing credits include Inherit the Wind, Gutenberg, An Enemy of the People, and The Laramie Project, for which he was nominated for a 2009 TPS Gregory Award for Outstanding Director.