World Premiere Play “A Child Shall Lead Them: Making ‘The Night of the Hunter’” Re-imagines the Creation of a Chilling Film Classic
Co-production will be presented at Georgetown University and at the University of Maryland
Washington, D.C. — The Georgetown University Theater and Performance Studies Program and University of Maryland School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies will co-produce the new multimedia production “A Child Shall Lead Them: Making ‘The Night of the Hunter,’” with a cast and creative team from both institutions. Written and directed by Derek Goldman, Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Georgetown, the show runs Nov. 3-6 at the Davis Performing Arts Center’s Gonda Theatre (Georgetown University), and Nov. 12-19 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Theatre (University of Maryland, College Park). A free November 5 screening of the film and discussion will also be held at Georgetown University, co-sponsored by the GU Film and Media Studies Program and the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts. Details below.
The 1955 film The Night of the Hunter was largely ignored upon its release but is now widely regarded as a masterpiece, called by Roger Ebert “one of the greatest of all American films.” This production is a historical re-imagining of the making of the film, woven from the classic screenplay and accounts of the shooting from those who were there, including director Charles Laughton, screenwriter James Agee, and actors Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, and Lillian Gish. The play provides a powerful new framework for experiencing this uniquely chilling tale of corruption and evil, in which the forces of creation and destruction do battle with each other, within and outside of the frame.
Goldman says, “I’ve always admired ‘Night of the Hunter’ and seen it as ahead of its time… This unique multimedia reimagining of the classic is at once a spine-tingling thriller and a meditation on childhood and parenthood, innocence and evil, what it means to be an artist, legacy, and what we give birth to.”
The creative team includes JD Madsen, Scenic Designer; Drew Kaufman, Lighting Designer; Laree Lentz, Costume Designer; Veronica Lancaster, Sound Designer; and Jared Mezzocchi, Projections Designer.
The production’s unique implementation of multimedia features cutting-edge filming and projection techniques, weaving footage and live camera feed, with two live cameras onstage moved around by the performers and five projectors. Projection designer Jared Mezzocchi says the process of “marrying film and stage, media and acting” has been “an exciting challenge that both redefines our rehearsal process as well as invites a new landscape for performers and designers to co-exist and co-create in.”
Georgetown performances of “A Child Shall Lead Them: ‘Making the Night of the Hunter” include the following:
Thursday-Saturday, November 3-5 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m.
Davis Performing Arts Center, Gonda Theatre