Jonny Peiffer’s Wanderkook Arrives in Portsmouth
Portsmouth, NH—New Hampshire Theatre Project presents Circulus’s production of Jonny Peiffer’s The Adventures of Oliver Z. Wanderkook at West End Studio Theatre and Portsmouth Music and Arts Center June 16-25—Friday/Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $25 and available on line.
The live experience combines words, art, music, dance, and animation to tell the magical tale of Oliver Z. Wanderkook’s fateful journey to meet the nine tribes of the Land of Two Suns.
Each show features a unique performer reading from Wanderkook’s journal, exploring the wisdom he left behind. Readers include Portsmouth poet laureate Mike Nelson, actor and UNH professor Deb Kinghorn, New Hampshire youth poet laureate Ella McGrail, Soggy Po’ Boys frontman Stu Dias, and others. Movement work will be performed by Amanda Whitford, Dance Director at Plymouth State University. The jazz septet Sojoy will perform the score live. Sojoy will release the official recording of the score Friday, June 16.
Composer Jonny Peiffer conceived the project in 2007 for an RPM (Record Per Month) Challenge album, and enlisted artist Dean Diggins to create a series of pen-and-ink drawings depicting Wanderkook’s Journey. In 2012 author Dan Beaulieu joined the team and began penning Wanderkook’s journal during Hurricane Sandy while living in New York City. In 2016 Peiffer orchestrated the piano score for the five-horned Sojoy septet. Later that year Circulus was formed when collaborators Peiffer, Sara Peiffer, CJ Lewis, and Catherine Stewart set out to turn The Wanderkook Project into a fully realized event. Sara Peiffer was tapped to design graphical elements, Stewart to create Kook’s world cinematically, and Lewis to curate the elements into a cohesive night. The Circulus team then brought in Sarah Duclos to choreograph the show.
Circulus has been preparing audiences for this production with their Wanderkook’s Field Notes Series, offering audiences a peek behind the curtain to see how the collaboration is working. At Field Notes on Words, Chris Hislop had this to say: “ Wanderkook is an absolute wonder. I’ve never experienced a ‘show’ that had such a keen way of engaging its audience, so intuitively brilliant.” Crystal Paradis praised the Wanderkook series, saying “It's hard to explain, because there is so much awesome packed into the whole Wanderkook concept and experience. You just must go—then you'll see for yourself and join the ranks of those of us who are now trying to explain it to the world!”
Audiences can begin to interact with the production through a city wide scavenger hunt in the weeks leading up to the show by visiting participating Portsmouth and Kittery businesses and picking up their own Wanderkook Passport to stamp with each purchase. For more details on the passport click here.
And you can hear the music by clicking here.