The Call of the Wild
By Jack London
Adapted for the stage by Blind Summit Theatre
Seeking Co-commissioners for 2020/21
Blind Summit is now looking for co-commissioning partners for their new production of Jack London’s Call of the Wild:
It is 1898 in a wild country, where the sun never sets for three months of the year, and disappears completely in winter: The Yukon. Gold is discovered, gold you could pick up from the ground. ‘It lies between the roots of the trees’ men said, and tens of thousands of them came to seek their fortune. Watching, a ghost dog that runs at the head of a pack.
Jack London's extraordinary adventure tells the tale of a dog, Buck, who is kidnapped and taken in a dog sled to Dawson City, the heart of the Klondike gold rush. He is beaten into submission and traded from owner to owner, working for good men, bad men and ordinary men. He sees his first snow, he watches the dogs fight amongst themselves and he learns. His is a journey of self-discovery; when Buck is kidnapped he doesn't try to get home. Rather, he embraces his surroundings, comes to know a new, less civilized lore and discovers his true nature; his calling: The Call of the Wild.
click pix to view:
Director Mark Down on the search for puppet-gold…
"Jack London was one of the first great American self-mythologizing writers. He wrote fist-fighting prose whose themes reflected his interests in social reform, communism and even eugenics. Inspired by Nietzsche, Call of the Wild is dog as Superman. But most of all London is Buck, and Buck is London. A story of ennoblement by the wilderness, and survival of the fittest, Call of the Wild is an exhilarating ride but also a troubling one, laying bare the ease with which a fragile veneer of civilization can be shrugged off to reveal the primitive instincts beneath.
The genius of Jack London's book is the way he puts the reader absolutely in the head of the dog, while never making him any less a dog. We cannot judge him as a man, or simplify his metaphor. He is a dog, driven by instinct. Using puppetry means we can put Buck, the sledge dog and hero of this story, at the centre of the production, just as he is in the book.
Our production will translate the muscularity of the prose into the physical movement of puppetry, using puppet animation to capture the "anima" - the visceral spirit of the wilderness and the redemption offered by nature.
Mahler's First Symphony will be rearranged for a honky tonk band that plays live on stage to drive the narrative. A soundscape will conjure the landscape through found sounds: the crack of lake ice, the squeak of snow under sled runners, the call of the timber wolves and the relentless peck of miners’ axes.
Shadow puppetry will exploit the bleakly beautiful light of the north land of Yukon Territories. Angularly sculpted dogs will fight for supremacy in this stark and brutal landscape..."
Designed by Ruth Paton (Blind Summit’s productions of Le Rossignol for Bregenz Festival and Little Match Girl for Spoleto Festival), Blind Summit’s adaptation of Call of the Wild will feature ten puppeteer-actor/dancers, a live five-piece band and a cast of over a hundred puppets.
We anticipate that it will travel with a company of twenty-two.
Call of the Wild will premiere in 2020/21.
For audiences of 500 and upwards.