shotgun archival page
To return to main site, please close this window

Article by Joe Mader of the East Bay Monthly, published August, 2001

You could view Sherwood Anderson's gorgeous novel, Winesburg, Ohio: Tales of the Grotesques, as a collection of uniquely American fairy tales. Anderson's fictional town is replete with figurative princes and princesses, witches and trolls, and curses of loneliness and unfulfilled dreams are passed down from generation to generation. The town slumbers feverishly until a knight (well, a writer) touches it with beauty.

Theatre company Word for Word, which turns well known prose into drama without changing any of the author's words, teams up with Shotgun Players to bring four of Winesburg, Ohio's tales to life (the book is a series of connected stories). Winesburg has been dramatized several times before, but Word for Word will use the actual stories for their script, not a dramatic adaptation.

Word for Word's last major production, the first chapter of Upton Sinclair's Oil!, exhibited both the company's genius and its faults. The troupe vividly evoked the book's landscape and past history, but the production suffered from overdramatization in spots -- resulting in some silly acting class exercises, like actors swaying and saying "whoosh" to portray trees in the wind. But when things go right, you witness exciting, innovative theatre.

Winesburg, Ohio is directed by Word for Word charter member Delia MacDougall and features a number of actors from both companies (including Shotgun artistic director Patrick Dooley in a rare acting role). Word for Word has proven repeatedly that it values, respects, and understands both prose and drama. When they mount Anderson's sublime stories, Word for Word will no doubt cast a spell all their own.

(c) 2001 San Francisco Weekly


home  |  the 2007 season  |  current show  |  news/awards  |  ashby stage  |  theatre lab
get directions  |  who we are  |  contact us  |  get involved  |  archives



1901 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94703