Highlights: Dartmouth Production of ‘1984’ Looks Back, Ahead

  • Kate Budney's interest in theater began on childhood family vacations to see musicals in New York City. Budney, 18, a 2017 graduate of Hanover High School in her first year at Dartmouth College, gets her makeup done by Dartmouth senior Claire Feuille before a rehearsal of "1984" at the Hopkins Center in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kate Budney listens to direction from Peter Hackett during a rehearsal of an adaptation of a radio play based on George Orwell's novel "1984" at Dartmouth's Moore Theater in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kate Budney, of Hanover, grew up participating in North Country Community Theatre productions in Lebanon, N.H. She is now considering studying theater or pre-vet at Dartmouth College. Budney laughs with fellow cast members of "1984" backstage at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Hanover, N.H. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/15/2018 12:06:16 AM
Modified: 2/15/2018 12:06:25 AM

Dartmouth College freshman Kate Budney confesses that before she auditioned for the Theater Department’s upcoming adaptation of 1984, she thought of George Orwell’s 1949 novel as “old,” out of date.

Then director Peter Hackett provided a tutorial in recent events to Budney and other cast members to prepare them for a scene in which the totalitarian state Oceania confines prisoners accused of what Orwell depicted as “thoughtcrimes” inside a tiny plexiglass cell. They included photos of naked men, crammed together like sardines by American military occupiers at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in 2004.

“It’s kind of traumatic to play these scenes,” Budney, a 2017 graduate of Hanover High School, said this week. “I would have been, let’s see, maybe 4 years old when that was happening, so I wasn’t really aware of what was going on at the time. A lot of us in the cast hadn’t learned too much about it before Peter talked to us about it.”

Hackett is glad that the lessons seem to be sinking in, for a production that he’s taglined “1984 or 2018?”

“Orwell warns us that there were things that dictatorships have in common,” Hackett wrote during an exchange of emails this week. ” Attacks on institutions (the judiciary, the press, law enforcement). The mandate that all should disregard what your own eyes and ears tell you is true and accept only what the regime tells you is true. The total disregard for facts. The militarization of the police and society at large. The blaming of “the other” for problems in the country, etc.”

Few if any of the plays in which Budney performed during the four years before she arrived at Dartmouth quite prepared her for this experience: Her credits include North Country Community Theatre’s productions of The Secret Garden and Beauty in the Beast, stagings of Guys and Dolls and The Pajama Game for Hanover High’s Footlighters and the Trumbull Hall Troupe’s adaptation of Legally Blonde.

Even the Theater Department’s fall production of the Euripides tragedy Medea, for which Budney performed in the Greek chorus, seemed light in comparison.

“We made quite a nice little family, which was fun,” she said of the Medea experience. “I got to know some of the same people who are involved in this play.”

Between rehearsals for 1984, Budney also is tuning her voice for next month’s finals of the Dartmouth Idol competition, for which she qualified over the first weekend of February.

“I have all my songs picked out,” Budney said. “We each get to sing a solo and then a duet with one of the semifinalists from the round before.”

Budney particularly welcomes the freedom for individual expression in Idol as a balance against the mindset of conformity that confines the characters in 1984.

“A lot of the situations in the play, if not directly like the play, are very similar to we’re seeing all around us now,” she said. “Issues like surveillance, censoring and that kind of stuff.

“It’s an old novel, but a pretty current topic.”

The Theater Department at Dartmouth College stages 1984 at the Moore Theater in Hanover over the next two weekends, starting Friday night at 8. For tickets ($10 to $12) and more information visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Best Bets

While undergraduate actors tackle 1984 this weekend, three of the school’s musical ensembles will perform as well, starting Friday night with the Glee Club performing two recitals (6:30 and 9) of baroque composer Giacomo Carissimi’s Jepthe oratorio at Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover. To accompany the music, which also includes madrigals from Carissimi’s era, graduate student Camilla Tassi, a soprano in the chorus, will project digital images that she has assembled of 17th-century art and architecture, animated sequences and a translated text of the oratorio.

On Saturday night at 8, Hafiz Shabazz leads the World Music Percussion Ensemble through works of Senegal’s Cheikh Lo, Nigeria’s Fela Kuti and Jamaica’s Bob Marley during the group’s winter-term performance at Faulkner Recital Hall in Hanover.

And on Sunday afternoon at 2, the Dartmouth College Wind Ensemble performs compositions of east Asian composers at Spaulding Auditorium. Vanich Potavanich of the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra will conduct the ensemble through two of his own compositions, and ensemble director Matthew Marsit will wield the baton for the other works.

To reserve tickets ($10) to any of these concerts and learn more, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

Goshen, N.H.-based singer-guitarist Tom Pirozzoli and South Newbury, Vt., fiddler Patrick Ross play the Sunapee Community CoffeeHouse in Sunapee Harbor on Friday night at 7. Admission is by donation.

ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret hosts an hour-long variety show called FEARless, in which Upper Valley artists explore the fear of love through music, poetry, skits and dance, on Saturday night. After the show, which starts at 7, the performers will invite members of the audience to write love letters to themselves in the future. And at 8:30, a dance party breaks out. Admission is $13 at the door.

Looking Ahead

Shaker Bridge Theatre kicks off its production of Simon Stephens’ drama Heisenberg next Thursday night at 7:30 at Whitney Hall in Enfield. The play, which examines a relationship between an older man and a younger one, runs through March 11. For tickets ($16 to $35), visit shakerbridgetheatre.org or call 603-448-3750.

Singer Chloe Brisson will lead her jazz quintet into ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. To reserve tickets ($20) and learn more, visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson, cellist Moeka Reid, saxophonists Jim Hobbs and Ingrid Laubrock, trombone/tuba player Bill Lowe, bassists Stomu Takeishi and drummer Tomas Fujiwara will join Dartmouth College’s Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble in concert at the Hopkins Center’s Spaulding Auditorium on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. For tickets ($10) and more information, visit hop.dartmouth.edu or call 603-646-2422.

The AVA Gallery is encouraging yarn-spinners to sign up for its March session of The Mudroom, which will focus on the theme of “The First Time.” Feb. 25 is the deadline to submit a story idea to mudroom@avagallery.org. Applicants should send a two- or three-sentence summary of their story plot. The Mudroom will select five stories for the March 15 gathering.

Theater/Performance Art

Northern Stage lowers the curtain on its production of Only Yesterday at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction this weekend, with performances at 2 this afternoon and 7:30 tonight, at 7:30 Friday night, at 2 on Saturday afternoon and at 7:30 Saturday night, before the finale on Sunday afternoon at 5. Admission costs $13.75 to $57.75. To reserve seats and learn more, visit northernstage.org or call 802-296-7000.

The Parish Players wrap their 12th annual Ten Minute Play Festival at the Eclipse Grange on Thetford Hill this weekend, starting tonight at 7:30. The eight plays include Final Confrontation #43 by the late Ross Whitlock, a graduate of Thetford Academy, and White River Junction resident Alan Haehnel’s A Hip-Hop Riff on a Late Night Tiff for Two. Subsequent performances are scheduled for 7:30 on Friday and Saturday nights before the finale at 2 on Sunday afternoon. For tickets ($10 to $15) and more information visit parishplayers.org or call 802-785-4344.

The BarnArts Center for the Arts completes its run of Neil Simon’s semiautobiographical Brighton Beach Memoirs this weekend at the Grange Theatre in South Pomfret, starting Friday night at 7:30. To reserve tickets ($10 to $18) and learn more, visit barnarts.org or call 802-234-1645.


Interplay Jazz hosts its monthly jam session at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret tonightt from 7 to 10. To register and to learn more, visit interplayjazzandarts.org.

Revels North hosts its next pub sing tonight at 6, at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover. Admission is by donation.

Grammy-nominated blues/rock singer Joan Osborne performs her interpretations of the music of Bob Dylan tonight at 7:30 at Lebanon Opera House. For tickets ($33 to $48) and more information, visit lebanonoperahouse.org or call 603-448-0400 or drop in at the box office in City Hall.

Americana singer-guitarist Millard Charles and folk singer-songwriter Samoa Wilson play the Flying Goose Brewpub and Grille in New London tonight at 8. To reserve tickets ($25) and learn more, visit flyinggoose.com or call 603-526-6899.

Guitarists Jim Musty and Jim Sinclair, saxophonist/flutist DeWitt Mallary, bassist Eric Bronstein and drummer Tom MacMillan play jazz at the monthly Corinth Coffeehouse at 1387 Cookeville Road on Saturday night at 7. Admission is by donation to Corinth’s Blake Memorial Library.

The Freelance Family Singers begin rehearsing Tuesday for the ensemble’s annual spring concerts in Woodstock. Under the direction of Ellen Satterthwaite, the chorus will tune up on Tuesday nights at 7 at the First Congregational Church of Woodstock. Participation fees are $15 for adults and $10 for children; scholarships are available. To learn more, call 802-457-3980.

Bar and Club Circuit

Out on a Limb pulls into Windsor Station tonight at 7 to play a set of Americana music, and Ben Bivins leads a mix of Burlington-based musicians into the venue for a session of rock on Friday night at 9:30. DJ Nasty Nate Jarvis spins for a dance party on Saturday night at 9:30. The Ruby Street duo plays folk and rock Tuesday night at 6.

Randy Miller leads the weekly live session of traditional Irish music at Salt hill Pub in Hanover tonight at 6. The weekend lineup features fiddler Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki and guitarist Matt Jensen playing Celtic music on Friday night at 9 and country rocker Mike Preston on Saturday night at 9.

About Gladys founder and front man Rich Thomas plays a solo set of acoustic rock at Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon on Friday night at 9. On Saturday night at 9, Turner Round rocks out.

Alex Smith & The Mountain Sound performs at Salt hill Pub in Newport on Friday night at 9, and the venue hosts the next round of the Newport’s Got Talent contest on Saturday night at 9. Roger Kahle joins Randy Miller on Wednesday night at 6 for their weekly live session of traditional Irish music.

Roger Burridge and Anthony Santoro lead a session of traditional Irish music at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon on Friday night at 9. Singer-songwriter Chris Powers performs Saturday night at 9.

Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis plays the tavern at Jesse’s restaurant in Hanover on Friday night at 5.

Saxophonist Mike Parker performs with singer Nikki Adams at The Public House in Quechee on Friday night at 7, then plays jazz with guitarist Norm Wolfe at the Quechee Inn at Marshland Farms on Wednesday night at 6.

Chump Change sets the rhythm for dancing at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners on Friday night at 9.

Psych Unit rocks The Skinny Pancake in Hanover on Friday night at 9. On Wednesday night at 8, Josiah Johnson, of the folk-pop band The Head and the Heart, visits with the rock ensemble Widower.

Pianist Sonny Saul performs jazz at the On the River Inn in Woodstock on Saturday and Wednesday nights from 6 to 9.

John Lackard plays the blues on Sunday afternoon from 1 to 3 at SILO Distillery in Windsor.

Open Mics

Ramunto’s Brick & Brew Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic at 7:30 on Thursday nights. Participants get a free large cheese pizza.

String players of all ages and abilities are welcome at the weekly acoustic jam session at South Royalton’s BALE Commons on Friday night from 6:30 to 10.

Joe Stallsmith leads his weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass on Monday night at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

Jim Yeager hosts several open mics: at Bentley’s Restaurant in Woodstock on Monday night at 7:30; at the Public House in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6; on Wednesday from 8 to midnight at Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland Four Corners; and next Thursday night at 7 at the ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret.

Fiddler Jakob Breitbach leads a weekly acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music on Tuesday nights at 7 at The Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

Tom Masterson hosts the weekly open mic at Bradford’s Colatina Exit on Tuesday nights at 8.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.

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