The Sandman at Oracle Theatre

Through a strange coincidence, I’m back playing Spalanzani in Oracle Theatre‘s production of THE SANDMAN. If you’d like to see it, please let me know ASAP and I’ll use my connections to get you guaranteed seats. (Admission is free, but there’s no guarantee of getting in unless you go through me.)

June 1st through June 30. Friday, Saturday and Monday nights at 8PM; Sunday afternoons at 4:30pm. But go to the website because some dates are a little funky: oracletheatre.org

Max Truax directs a world premiere adaptation of THE SANDMAN by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Bob Fisher (founder and Artistic Director of The Mammals) adapts. The cast features Chris Hart as Nathaniel (present); Ben Hertel as Nathaniel (past) and Lothaire; Simina Contras as Mother, Clara, and Olympia (the automaton); and Dave Belden as Father, Coppelius, Coppola, and Professor Spalanzani.

The production team features video design by Oracle’s Executive Producer Ben Fuchsen, puppet design by Tracy Otwell (winner of 2011 Equity Jeff award for her work on Lookingglass’s THE LAST ACT OF LILKA KADISON), lighting design by Karen Thompson, assistant direction by Laura Smith, costume design by DeChantel Kosmatka, sound design by Jonathan Guillen, technical direction by Justin Snyder, Allison Goetzman as stage manager, Angie Grish Drach as graphic designer. Max Truax and Justin Snyder are set designers.

Hoffman published Der Sandmann in 1816. The short story begins as a series of letters, and moves into a narrative structure. In THE SANDMAN, Fisher’s adaptation draws on these literary devices to recreate the dramatic plot: Nathaniel is away at university when he encounters a man he believes to be an incarnation of the man who murdered his father. For Nathaniel, this initiates an obsessive investigation of repressed childhood memories and the mysterious circumstances surrounding his father’s death. Nathaniel’s journey is a descent into madness which threatens to destroy him and those whom he loves the most. His only trusted friend, Lothaire, must lead him out of his dark addiction.

Truax’s vision uses cinematic staging, puppets, and live feed video projections to explore the themes of sight and seeing (and believing) woven into this complex narrative. Actors play the characters as expected, but they also manipulate puppets and video cameras so as to embody their characters’ doppelgangers.

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