Two years, two months and two days.
That’s how lengthy Henry David Thoreau (1817-1863) spent within the little 10’x15’ cabin he constructed on the attractive, wooded Walden Pond close to Harmony, MA, the place his household lived. The land was owned by his beneficiant good friend, essayist and thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Thoreau spent most of his time “sauntering,” immersing himself in nature, studying and writing (together with a primary draft of his masterwork, “On Walden Pond,” nonetheless in print and extensively learn).
He was considered an remoted, lonely hermit. However the reality is, he went into city continuously, his mom and sisters introduced him meals and clear garments, and he usually returned to his household dwelling. He even hosted a big picnic for an abolition society.
None of this made it into “Ripples from Walden Pond,” a solo play by Richard Platt. However plenty of different info did.
Within the piece, Thoreau (which, he asserts, is pronounced THURR-oh) comes again from the useless to talk to fashionable audiences.
And he has rather a lot to say.
The famend author was a thinker, poet, pure historian, environmentalist, abolitionist (he as soon as harbored a runaway slave, and he publicly defended the controversial abolitionist chief, John Brown). He was additionally a serious proponent of nonviolent resistance. He mentioned that his ebook, “Civil Disobedience,” impressed Mahatma Gandhi.
What we study from the Harvard graduate and failed instructor is how you can dwell a great, simply life: with an appreciation of nature and a public and social dedication to the following technology.
These are noble aspirations. His ideas on private freedom are somewhat tougher to swallow.
He believed that folks (most of them, he mentioned, “residing lives of quiet desperation”) ought to reject the state, society and legal guidelines, to rely solely on nature and the self. His motto was “Authorities is finest when it governs least.”
This landed him briefly in jail one time, for refusing to pay the ballot tax; he thought of charging to vote unjust.
A few of his ideas on authorities persist in sure quarters immediately.
However actor Steve Smith makes him energetic firm — particularly when he’s excitedly enacting the wonders of nature (a struggle of ants, for instance).
The primary act options a great deal of speechifying however, below Veronica Murphy’s path, the second act strikes shortly and is most gratifying.
The operating time is posted as 55 minutes, which might be good. However with an intermission, it stretched to 105 minutes the night time I used to be on the Tenth Avenue Arts Heart.
Taking part in in repertory with a dramatization of the chilling story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” each excellently introduced and absolutely designed solo exhibits symbolize a brand new program of basic literature performances, Lit Alive, from Write Out Loud.
The set is spare, however the sound (Kevin Athenill) is splendidly evocative.
“Life,” Thoreau tells us, “is fleeting, and wonder needs to be savored.” And “Should you don’t dwell what you consider, then you definitely don’t consider something.” His recommendation, “Let your self step to the music that you just hear.” You need to “Love your life.”
Phrases to dwell by.
- Write Out Loud’s first Lit Alive manufacturing, “Ripples from Walden Pond,” runs by means of Dec. 10 on the Tenth Avenue Arts Heart, 903 Tenth Avenue in downtown San Diego, within the upstairs Discussion board Theatre
- Remaining Performances for “Ripples” are Saturday, Dec. 3; Thursday, Dec. 8; and Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m.
- Tickets ($30) can be found at writeoutloudsd.com
- Operating time: 90-110 min.
Pat Launer, a member of the American Theatre Critics Affiliation, is a long-time San Diego arts author and an Emmy Award-winning theater critic. An archive of her previews and opinions will be discovered at patlauner.com.