Chicago Premiere of PigPen Theatre Co.'s Revised Old Man and The Old Moon Extends to December

By Adam Hetrick
and Michael Gioia
October 28, 2013

The new version of PigPen Theatre Co.'s acclaimed theatrical blend of music and shadow play, The Old Man and The Old Moon, which began its Chicago-area premiere in September, has extended its engagement at the Writers Theatre.



Alex Falberg, Ben Ferguson, Curtis Gillen, Ryan Melia, Matt Nuernberger, Arya Shahi and Dan Weschler are PigPen's troupe members, who create atmospheric theatrical fables through a blend of original music, shadow puppetry, live action and clever lighting effects. 

They reunited for the Writers Theatre engagement, which reflects an updated and revised version of the production of the work that was presented to acclaim Off-Broadway earlier this year. Performances were originally scheduled to conclude Nov. 10, but the production will now run to Dec. 1. Stuart Carden and PigPen Theatre co-direct the piece.

"Following a writing workshop, two weeks at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and a full rehearsal process in Glencoe, PigPen and Writers Theatre are thrilled to present a newly improved version of their The Old Man and The Old Moon. A celebration of creativity, music, poetic text, this is a marvelous fusion of the word and the artist and a superb way to begin our final season in our current space," artistic director Michael Halberstam said in a statement.

The creative team includes Lydia Fine (scenography, puppetry), Bart Cortright (scenography) and PigPen Theatre Co. (puppetry). The sound designer is Mikhail Fiksel.

According to the creators, "The Old Man and The Old Moon creates an epic new mythology, centered on a man whose job is to collect spilled light to refill the leaking moon. When his wife unexpectedly leaves home in pursuit of much-needed adventure, he abandons his post to follow her, throwing the world into chaos as he searches for his lost love, his fading memory and, ultimately, himself."

PigPen's animated short film "Bremen," featuring music from the album of the same name, serves as a companion piece and introduction to the production. The film, produced by Gabrielle Nadig in partnership with Buffalo Picture House, introduces audiences to the "magical world" found in The Old Man and The Moon and is directed and animated by Brandon Roots with character design by Wylie Beckert.

PigPen Theatre Co. was formed at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2008. PigPen has toured nationally and became the first company in history to win the top honor for a play at the New York City International Fringe Festival two years in a row (The Nightmare Story in 2010 and The Mountain Song in 2011). The troupe has performed in Chicago as well as New York's Barrow Street Theatre, the Boston Center for the Arts and The Irondale Center in Brooklyn.

The Writers Theatre is located in Glencoe, IL. Visit writerstheatre.org.

Watch "Bremen":