The Bridge of San Luis Rey
THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY closed Oct. 8, 2006. Please check out our current production: LIFE OF GALILEO !
"THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY"
IS A SEPTEMBER 11 STORY
1928 PULITZER PRIZE NOVEL HAS
NEVER BEEN ADAPTED FOR THE STAGE
The Strawberry Theatre Workshop opens its third season of confrontational works at Richard Hugo House with "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", a play for puppets and actors, opening September 8 for a limited run. The play is adapted from the 1928 novel by Thornton Wilder, who later became a seminal playwright in the American theatre when he completed "Our Town" (1938) and "The Skin of Our Teeth" (1943). But it was this short existential novel which was his first literary triumph, earning him the first of three Pulitzer Prizes when he was just thirty years old.
As in Strawshop's inaugural piece, "This Land: Woody Guthrie" (2004), bunraku-inspired puppets will share the stage with actors to form the world of the play. This device will allow the author's delicate narrative to be read as authentically as possible from what Edmund Fuller (New York Times) called "One of the greatest reading novels in this century's American writing."
Set in colonial Peru in the 18th century, "San Luis Rey" interweaves the stories of five people who die when an ancient rope bridge breaks and sends them plunging into a gulf. The book opens with an account of how a Franciscan monk witnessed the accident and spent his subsequent years amassing evidence to explain why God singled out these five for premature death.
Strawshop Artistic Director Greg Carter first considered adapting San Luis Rey when he was the Production Manager at Book-It Repertory Theatre in 2001. "Like most artists, the violence of September 11 left me wondering how I was supposed to respond. I was so immersed in literature when I was at Book-It, that I couldn't hear my own voice. Instead, I kept hearing voices of other artists who had made my life worth living." Carter was not the only person who heard the voice of Thornton Wilder at that time. Two days after the 2001 tragedy, British Prime Minister Tony Blair read the final chapter of "San Luis Rey" aloud in Parliament. Wilder's final lines serve as an individual search for meaning in a communal loss of life:
We ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
As he emerged as a force in the theatre, Wilder resisted calls to dramatize "San Luis Rey" in his lifetime. The Strawshop production was only made possible after a protracted negotiation with the Wilder estate, which considers "San Luis Rey" such a precious example of the author's philosophy that they have remained very pr
Richard Hugo House
1634 11th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|