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Responses > Performances

Richard Brautigan's legacy is his continued inspiration for creative efforts by others who interpret his work, or create their own in response. This node provides an overview of selected performances inspired by Brautigan, and links to further information and resources. Use the information below to learn more about creative responses to Brautigan's works.
In Watermelon Sugar > Selected Creative Responses

"In Watermelon Sugar"
Chickenshed Theater
London, England
Performed 25-28 February 2008
IDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different colour every day, and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar.

Using text from the novel In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan, this dance theatre piece follows three characters as they go about their lives in this simple community.
Online Resource
Promotion at Chickenshed website
"In Watermelon Sugar"
Hip Pocket Theatre, Fort Worth, Texas
Adapted and directed by Johnny Simons
Performed 6-28 October 2006
First adapted by Simons in 1977. Performances in 1977, 1986, 1998, and 2006.

Online Resource
Hip Pocket Theatre website

Stewart, Perry. "Sweet Redux." 11 October 2006.

READ the full text of this review.

Online Resource
Stewart's review at the website
"In Watermelon Sugar"
Tricklock Theater, Albuequerque, New Mexico
Joe Pesce, Artistic Director

Feedback from Joe Pesce
Joe Pesce. Email to John F. Barber, 26 July 2003.
Sampson, Benjamin W. "Season Preview 2002-03." American Theatre 19(8) October 2002: ***43-?****.
Presents a list of theatrical productions at Theatre Communications Groups across the United States for the 2002-2003 season. This production was scheduled for 5-21 September 2002.

According to Artistic Director Joe Pesce, performances did not occur as announced because of difficulties arranging collaboration with the Keshet Dance Company, adapting Brautigan's novel In Watermelon Sugar, and coordinating the overall timing of mounting the production.

Online Resource
Tricklock Theater Company website
Trout Fishing in America > Selected Creative Responses

"Trout Fishing in America (Music-Drama for One Actor and Five Musicians)"
Mason Bates
A music drama produced by the Juilliard InterArts Department. Bates is a composer of electronica and classical music and lives in the San Francisco, CA area.

Online Resource
Mason Bates/Masonic website

Feedback from Mason Bates
Mason Bates. Email to John F. Barber, 6 February 2004.
Miscellaneous Works > Selected Creative Responses

Ianthe Brautigan
Brautigan, Ianthe. "One Afternoon in 1939"
30 January 2011
Produced by Paul Swensen
Video format
Running time: 2'31"
A video birthday tribute from Ianthe Brautigan to her father, Richard Brautigan. Released on his birthday: 30 January 2011. Ianthe recites one of her father's stories, "One Afternoon in 1939" and concludes by wishing her father a happy birthday.

Vesuvio poster
Vesuvio Players reading works by Richard Brautigan
"Brautigan Night at Vesuvio"
1 February 2010
Vesuvio Cafe
255 Columbus Avenue at Jack Kerouac Alley
San Francisco, California
Vesuvio employees, led by actor and director Jim Reese (right), performed several selected readings of works by Richard Brautigan. Brautigan's daughter, Ianthe, spoke at the beginning of the performance which was filmed for inclusion in an upcoming documentary film, For Richard, she is making with her husband, Paul Swensen. The event celebrated Brautigan's 30 January birthday. He would have been 75.

Online Resources
Article by Michelle Quinn in The New York Times Bay Area Blog
"Hugo House Presents Dead Poets Society"
Hugo House
Seattle, Washington
Performed 15 April 2010
Local poets portray, in full costume, dead poets, famous or infamous as an annual event in celebration of April as National Poetry Month. Each local poet reads selections from the dead poet they portrayed, as well as one of their own poems written in response to the life or works of their chosen poet. Poets portrayed include Audre Lorde, Frank O'Hara, Anne Sexton, and Brautigan.
Matt Gano, a.k.a Richard Brautigan, is a nationally known Seattle poet, writer, and performance artist. Gano was a member of the 2008 National Poetry Slam Seattle team and finished in the top position, earning himself the title of "Seattle Poetry Slam Grand Slam Champion." Gano remains as one of the best performing artists in Seattleā€™s poetry circuit, and his published work includes the chapbooks Music Maker, Welcome Home, and I Eight the Infinite, along with the self-titled poetry LP A Giant's Pulse. Gano is also a mentor for the Seattle youth poetry program, Youth Speaks, where he facilitates poets ages 13-19 in workshops discussing poetry and the art of expression.
Online Resources
Article by Jen Betterley at the Seattleest website ("Hugo House Presents Dead Poets Society" 12 April 2010)
"Goldfish in Alaska: Adapted from the Poetry of Richard Brautigan"
Red Egg Theater
Santa Cruz, California
Performed 27-29 March 2009 Santa Cruz County Actor's Theatre
1001 Center Street
Santa Cruz, California
Adapted by Gina Hayes
A hour-long play examining Brautigan's inner life and some of his characters, either imagined or real. The experimental production includes some elements of dance.

Online Resource
Article by Christa Martin at Good Times website
Morrow, Martin. "Theatre: Empathy in Progress: The Distribution of Empathy." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 14 January 2003: 1.
Reviews "The Distribution of Empathy," written and produced by Karen Finley as a "High Performance Rodeo" delivered at the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Says at one point, Finley
uses the chance sighting of a movie poster for "Barfly" in a Michigan theatre to digress into tales of youthful affairs with poets Charles Bukowski and Richard Brautigan, anecdotes which are funny but appear to be pointless. (1)
"Richard Brautigan & Dick Whitaker Memorial Trout Fishing In America Poetry Contest"
Part of the Ketchikan, Alaska, Blueberry Arts Festival which is held annually, the first weekend in August, to celebrate summer and blueberries. The poetry contest began in 1990.
Row, D. K. "Casually Unpolished, Experimental Performance Show Offers the Unique." The Oregonian 29 July 2002: C8.
Reviews a performance of "30 Days," and experimental work by nine performers and collaborators who were given thirty days to make their work and the further caveat that their work could not exceed a ten-minute limit. Says,
The talented visual artist damail ayo [sic] collaborated with James Moore and Kollodi on a performance sketch that incorporated text by writers Jamaica Kincaid, Harold Pinter and Richard Brautigan and the performers' own ideas. This critic wasn't sure of the source of the squabbles witnessed on stage, which incorporated music from a boombox and much physical agitation from all three. But the unsettling frisson, of embarrassment and admiration for the performers, suggested that the audience was being made privy to something unusually personal. (C8)
Solis, René. "Brautigan, Moth." Libération 11 Sept. 2003: ***?***.
A review of a play by Bruno Boëglin performed at The International Theater of French Language in Paris through Sept. 27, 2003. The play, based on an assembly of texts and impressions rather than factual information, seeks to "interpret" Brautigan's life and work through a form of familiarity. The short, small play featured three actors: American Joe Rezwin as Brautigan, Japanese actor Hiromi Asaï, and Chinese actor Lan Truong. They change roles and costumes, and use recorded voices to portray, through a series of digressions, a spectacle of soft madness. The result is a reflection of America as derived from an interpretation of one of its writer's.
Written by Erik Patterson
A one-act drama, written mostly in haiku verse, with five male and 1 female characters, about
a young Japanese woman, Akiko, who is haunted by the loss of two men: her father, whom she barely knew, and cult novelist Richard Brautigan, whom she's never met. Akiko plays out her father/Richard Brautigan fantasies with a new man nearly every night. Each one of her relationships begins in a bar and ends in a bedroom, and she's never satisfied.
READ a sample of the Tonseisha script.

Online Resources
Erik Patterson's website

Description of Tonseisha at Patterson's website

Upcoming Performances
London-based theatrical group Saltpeter plans a 2013 performance of Tonseisha

Past Performances
Theater of Note
1517 Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, California
Directed by Tim Hanson
One-act play; Production ran through 15 December 2001
A Japanese woman, played by Fay Kato, searches for a corporeal replacement for the specter of novelist Richard Brautigan, played by Hugo Armstrong, who lovingly haunts her. Her marriage to sweetly earnest Montana poet Robert, played by David Conner, brings her to America, but her damaged psyche gradually and heartbreakingly unravels.

Feedback from Erik Patterson
Erik Patterson. Email to John F. Barber, 7 July 2005.
"Tonseisha" Noted
Anonymous. "EdgeFare. (Edge Of The World Theatre Festival November 8-18)." Back Stage West 1 November 2001: 4-***?***(5).
Notes the offering at the Theater of Note, "Near Life: Three Death-Defying One-Acts." Says,
Theatre of NOTE offers three one-acts about life—and, more specifically, about death. The Man Who Looked for the World in a Fortune Cookie (and Found It), written and directed by Christopher DeWan, is a short glimpse at loneliness and redemption, in which "a hermit doesn't sleep at night, in love with the vacant moon. The cool of the breeze that rustles the trees rustles him, too." Near Death, written and directed by Christopher Kelley (a great actor who also wrote the giddy Monstrosity and the haunting Ransomed Soul), is billed as a "dark, comic paean to familial love and rejection." Tonseisha, written by Erik Patterson and directed by Tim Hanson, is the story of a woman's desperate attempt to find "love, happiness, and Richard Brautigan." Considering the pedigree of the first two and the good buzz on the third, this looks like a must-see.
Gittleson, Gia Lauren. "The Guide." Los Angeles Magazine 24(12) December 2001: 159-***?***.

Schreiber, Brad. "Near Life—Three Death Defying One-Acts." Back Stage West 8 November 2001: 11.
Notes the current program of three one-act plays at the Theater of Note and says "Tonseisha" was the longest, and strongest, of the evening.