Category Archives: Tucson

Intensity from page to stage

Intensity from page to stage

‘As I Lay Dying,’ rich with inner voices, an unblinking look at the human animal

'As I Lay Dying'
Dylan Page and Matt Bowdren in Rogue Theatre’s production of “As I Lay Dying.” 


 The company opens Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying,” a novel steeped in Mississippi mud, dysfunctional characters and words so lush and writing so magical that it, along with his other works, won Faulkner a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949.

“One of the things I really really like about this novel is that Faulkner looks very unflinchingly at us – or makes us look at ourselves unflinchingly,” said Joseph McGrath, co-founder of Rogue and the director of this production.

“We may have all sorts of higher thoughts, but we are physical beings, and we are never really allowed to forget that. It’s an unflinching look at what it is to be human not just in an emotional, but physical sense.”

Faulkner wrote “As I Lay Dying” in 1930. Since then it has been consistently cited as one of the great American novels of the 20th century.

And the play, adapted by Annette Martin, doesn’t fool around with the master’s text.

“We aren’t doing the entire novel,” said McGrath.

“The adaptation cuts a lot out. But there isn’t a word that’s not Faulkner’s. We’ve pulled everything from the book.”

“As I Lay Dying” chronicles the journey of the dirt-poor Bundren family members as they attempt to bring the wife and mother, Addie, to her requested burial site.

It is character-rich, and each of them delivers monologues, revealing inner thoughts, turmoils and troubles.

“They are all narrators, but not all the narrators are reliable,” said McGrath.

“So what you’re doing is piecing together what is happening and what is true and reliable. The effect is one of isolation, where every person is in his own world.”

McGrath is compelled by the family in this story, and the nature of family that Faulkner addresses in “As I Lay Dying.”

“This family is so inept without its mother,” he said.

“We join them as they are in the death watch, and already the family is beginning to disintegrate. Their journey, without that figure of Addie that would help them make decisions along their way, is pretty inept and comic. I hope to bring out the comedy. In a way, it’s deeply disturbing and very close to farce.”

And as for those who fear Faulkner, this may be your chance to embrace the author.

Of all of his works, this is the “shallow end,” said McGrath.

“This is the easy way to get into Faulkner.”

• Presented by: The Rogue Theatre.

• Adapted by Annette Martin

• Where: 300 E. University Blvd. in the Historic Y.

The story

Addie Bundren is dying, watching as her son Cash builds her coffin. She has one wish: to be buried in a town 40 miles away.

It’s a difficult request to fulfill, but the family tries. Addie’s body in hand, they take nine days and deal with flood, fire and buzzards in their quest to bring Addie to her final resting place in her hometown of Jefferson, Miss.

While committed to granting their mother’s desire, the characters, through a series of monologues, reveal some desires of their own that they think can be fulfilled in Jefferson.

ANOTHER ADAPTATION OF ‘”AS I Lay Dying” was written by Robert Flynn. called “Journey to Jefferson” and was first directed by PAUL BAKER at the Dallas Theater Center.  Robert Flynn’s adaptation was later widely produced and won international awards.

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by Randy Ford

Ted: No one forced me out of congress. I decided on my own it was time to leave. No one pressured me. No group pressured me. My party pressured me to leave. The Republicans weren’t involved. It was my decision. I thought it was time, and I left. I didn’t want to leave because there was so much more to do, much more. But it is a hell of a note to realize that I was out of step. It is a hell of a note to realize I was no longer relative. Hell, it felt as if I was wasting my time.

I am a hunter. Hell, now I have all the time in the world to hunt. And nobody can tell me I can’t hunt whenever I want to, and by God, who can stop me on my ranch. It don’t matter whether it’s hunting season or not, though I respect the law and have always respected the law. I make sure I never shoot a female. I’ve always respected females, always had an eye for females. There’s got to be rules. There’s got to be laws. There’s got to be regulations. Without regulations, laws, and rules, well hell, mucky- mucks would run everything, own everything, ruin everything leaving nothing for the working man. See what led to the Great Depression. Enough … enough politics. I’ve had enough politics. I’m retired.

Poor little man. Poor working men. I pity working men today. You can see how it is. Well, hell they haven’t gotten nowhere since Nixon. What can I say … since Nixon. And where does that leave me? Down here, on my ranch of over a thousands acres surrounded by mountains, grass lands with marshy springs and a floodplain that includes several swampy stretches. It’s part of an old Spanish land grant that stretched beyond the Mexican border. It was part of one ranch until I bought my over thousand acres. The ranch then stretched beyond the Mexican border, all the way south to the mountains you can see. God damn fence! God damn Border Patrol! Closed our border crossing. I voted for it, sadly, regretfully I voted for it. Can’t punch cattle through legally anymore, sadly, regrettably not anymore. Well, hell, it don’t seem like I can stay away from politics. But sadly I never called them on it … called them on closing or border crossing … pork! Sadly pork! Sadly I didn’t stand up for what I believed. Sadly, I didn’t stand up for my own interest. Pork! Goddamn pork! For national security, we have to make sacrifices. For security, we have to make sacrifices, or so we are told. Hell, I don’t know. I should know, but I don’t. I don’t know anymore. I have a lot friends on the other side, on the other side of the fence. I don’t know.

We have white-tailed deer, mule deer, and javelina, most commonly. I am hunter so imagine … well, hell, let’s not go there. Pronghorn antelope were introduced in the valley in the 1950’s, and I’m proud to say the heard now numbers a little over 100 animals. And I’m proud to say we’re relatively undisturbed, and our valley spans over 90,000 acres, mostly grassland … relatively undisturbed. It is one of the last remaining undisturbed remnants of grassland between California and Texas. Pardon my bragging since I’m a former Texan and forgive my grammar. It’s hard to forget where you came from. And since I am a former Texan, nobody should be able to force me to do a goddamn thing, nobody.

It’s surprising, even to me, we, Sally and I don’t have a trophy room. Sally has always been against hanging an animal head, as she put it “a poor animal head” on a wall, nowhere, no how, and in my house Sally rules. I guess I could put fish up, but it ain’t the same as a 13 point buck. No, it ain’t. Here I go again. Ain’t, ain’t, ain’t. Sometimes I cultivate poor grammar. And even if I made the tragic mistake of putting up a 13 point buck in my house, Sally would keep me in line and make me take it down. Yes, Sally rules our household. Yes, yes, I love her.

It’s a goddamn lie that I am a socialist. I am not a communist. It’s a goddamn lie that I am a communist or a socialist like I have been accused of being. I am an American first, an American. Now some people insist on calling me a socialist and make hay by making speeches about it. And they say all Speaker Ted Thompson wants is to turn the United States into a socialist country like Norway or Sweden. Well, that’s not true. Norway and Sweden are great countries, but Norway and Sweden aren’t the United States of America.

But even if I made the mistake of owning a trophy room and dividing the country more than it is, I wouldn”t hang a deer head up in it. I wouldn”t., would not. I love deer too much to do it. Still I’m a hunter, love hunting. I grew up hunting. I grew up here. My shooting deer for sport! Never!

I’ve always insisted that I am a rancher, foremost a rancher, born a rancher, and will die a rancher. People think I make my money elsewhere. It’s true, too true that it takes a lot money to win elections … millions of dollars to win an election, and it’s true, too true. And I’ve won many elections. But that’s not my money. I’ve earned my money ranching … like my pappy and his pappy before him … earned their money ranching. And I think we can all agree: it takes too much money to win elections. And many people helped. And some didn’t wamt to. And I … I’ve never raised campaign money and then use it for personal used. I’ve always earned my money ranching.

This stuff about me and fat cats is a goddam lie. I never accepted a bribe. I’m as honest as a clear sky in Arizona is most of the year.

All I can say is that it’s a goddam lie, and it wasn’t why I gave up the speaker ship and left congress … whether I stayed or not it wouldn’t have made a difference. The tide had turned. The President congratulated me for years of public service and told me that he thought it was an outrage that I was forced out, forced out by my party, forced out by my friends in congress. After our meeting, I wasn’t sure how The President really felt, while he told me he appreciated what I had done and that he considered me a friend, always a friend. There was no disagreement between us and no acrimony. And he and I had a drink together, and he sat there in a chair across from me while I sat on a couch. We had no debate or no argument, and I hadn’t asked to see him in the White House. He summoned me. And if you’ve heard that we had a disagreement of any kind, it is bullshit. The next day, I flew to Tucson, a civilian. I had a car waiting for me.

Some now say I strayed too far left and no longer represented people who sent me to congress. Left? Left! Where is left? What raced through my mind as I resigned was that. Who changed? When had the tide turned. Why hadn’t I seen it? What was going on in the country? I knew I hadn’t changed. I knew I was the same me. And the thought that I am out of step, by God, it was inconceivable to me.

The reason I resigned and didn’t choose to fight was that I loss my influence. No, no, it can’t be true. What was going on in Washington or what is going on in Washington … well, as of today … I feel congress has been highjacked, highjacked out from under me. I thought it was a conspiracy and I raised that question and I couldn’t get an honest answer. I raised the question and didn’t get an honest answer … answers … there were no answers that I could see. I didn’t think I had a choice, so I got on a plane, an ordinary plane as a civilian …. waiting in line like everyone else, came home to my ranch, flew to Tucson, where I had a car waiting for me. Wearing shades, I stood in line at the airport like everybody else.

I thought the most important thing for me to do was not to be an obstructionist. If the country, the country as a whole, the country I love, had moved away from me, away from what I stood for, if, if, if, then I thought I should get out of the way. I knew we lost, or were on the losing end of a great battle, battle loss and I didn’t want to be an obstructionist, or a sore loser signifying nothing. I’ve always wanted to be relative. I didn’t want to go down in history as an obstructionist, an obstructionist as so many of my colleagues have.

There is an implication, of course, that I gave up, when the implication to me was that I could serve my country better and more effectively outside of congress and that I could do more good here at my ranch than in Washington. I have a telephone. People can come to me. There is a road to my ranch, though it is dirt, and they will come. I will have more influence here than in Washington.

And I don’t have to deal with distractions here. I don’t have a staff here, outside of my ranch foreman and a few ranch hands. Well, now there’s Sally. I don’t know that there’s anyway of saying it other than admit that Sally is in charge of everything here, everything concerning the ranch, and in charge of me, and in charge of the hands and the cattle. I don’t know how to say it except admit that the ranch belongs to Sally. When I first ran for office, I signed the deed over to her for a dollar. It made sense then, and it makes sense now. You know, life is simpler that way. You know it leaves me time to do what I do. I can call some guy and talk all day, or I can call some guy’s secretary and say, “Honey, how’s your day.” I call all secretaries “honey,” and I know they think I mean it. And the great thing is Sally don’t mind.

I think I should be able to call anyone “honey,” if I felt like it. In a democracy such as ours, I should be able to call anyone “honey,” if I want to. In a democracy, no one should be placed on a pedestal. But when I call a woman “honey,” I am always proper, always dignified, always respectful. I respect women, all women. And the greatest thing that happened to me was when I met one special woman named Sally.

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BORDERLANDS THEATER- Shadow Puppetry Master Class with Shadow Master Larry Reed!

Shadow Puppetry Master Class with Shadow Master Larry Reed!
Seven day intensive: May 23-29
M-F: 5pm-9pm & Sat & Sun: 2pm-6pm 
               (If you have a day job, ok to come after 5pm on weeknights)
La Pilita Community Center

420 S Main Ave. Tucson, AZ

To register email
or call (520) 882-8607
Appropiate for all levels of experience. Learn or grow in the craft of Shadow Puppetry with nationally and internationally acclaimed shadow master, LarryReed, a trailblazer in the contemporary shadow theatre field. We’re fortunate enough to have him in town for a week!
We are living in what American Theatre magazine recently called, “a puppet moment.” Broadway hits starting with Lion King, Avenue Q, and Warhorse have put puppets in the spotlight. Shadow puppetry is possibly the oldest form of puppetry and the most magical. Larry Reed’s Master Class is perfect for novice and experienced puppeteers looking to widen their skill set: teachers or anyone working with youth, visual artists, theater students, and any one interested in craftwork and fun!
Class participants will make one complete story from start to finish, including:
  • A variety of puppet designs/styles
  • Shadow masks
  • Backgrounds and acetate slides
  • Overview of the shadow theatre lighting system
  • Puppeteering technique
  • Shadow special effects, and tricks of the trade
Cost: $150
Scholarship Option: Take the master class for free in exchange for staying on to build puppets and backdrops during the building phase May 31- July 24 Building sessions will take place three days a week, Tuesdays & Thursdays 6-9pm and Sundays 2-6pm. A minimum of 20 volunteer hours required over the 8 week build period.

The build is in service of the Sonoran Shadows workshop production, October 14-15, 2016. Paid puppeteer positions will be available for Sonoran Shadows.  

To register email
or call (520) 882-8607 

Larry Reed Biography
founded ShadowLight Productions in 1972 to nurture indigenous shadow theater traditions, and to explore and expand the possibilities of the shadow theatre medium. He is one of the first Westerners to have trained in the traditional Balinese shadow theatre (wayang kulit) and is a “dalang,” or “shadow master,” who manipulates over 20 carved leather shadow puppets while simultaneously serving as the conductor of the accompanying gamelan orchestra, the director, and the stage manager. Over the years, he has performed over 250 shows in this tradition around the world. In the early 1990’s, Reed entered a new phase of his career by inventing an ingenious shadow casting method, integrating traditional shadow theater techniques with film, modern theatre and dance styles. His major works include In Xanadu, The Wild Party, Coyote’s Journey, A (Balinese) Tempest,Monkey King at Spider Cave, Ghosts of the River, The Good-for-Nothing Lover, andPoro Oyna: The Myth of the Aynu. These and other original works have been seen at festivals and venues such as Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater, Britt Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, World Puppetry Festival, Huddersfield Festival in England, Walter Spies Festival in Bali, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Puppetry Conference, Fort Mason Center, Theatre Artaud, San Francisco Insitute for the Arts, and University of Hawaii-Manoa. Shadow Master (1979), his unique “dramatic documentary” on the family of a Balinese shadow artist, has been shown on PBS and Discovery Channel. Reed has garnered numerous awards and honors, and was named one of Top 50 artists in the SF Bay Area by Metropolitan Magazine in 1995 and 1996.
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Borderlands Theater, 40 W. Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85701

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