Wind in the Willows Links

Wind in the Willows poster

willows - Notes from the Director


It is a delight and honor to tip one's theatrical hat to a classic piece of literature upon its 100th birthday.  Theatre is an alchemy of enchantment, and I am convinced that in these difficult times, Art will save us all.  One way to do that is to gather classically-trained actors and students of theatre for exactly what they are meant to do: endow characters of a past era with panache.  It’s not much of puddle-jump from, say, an Elizabethan court to a delightfully Edwardian countryside, and so we present this marvelous adaptation of the book The Wind In The Willows for your pleasure and trust the production will both vibrate with heart and shine a light on the ingenious imaginings of the design team.  Grahame's masterpiece is a captivating dream for creatures of all ages, and as such, we are pouring our fondness into the creation of this live version.

I was blessed to have an exceptional mother who was a student of literature and a beloved schoolteacher.  She would read to her students in the classroom and to her sons at bedtime…the stories of Lewis, White, Milne, Dahl, Grahame.  Images would whisk around my pillow and I’d drift away to dream worlds yet never really tire.  Bedtime meant eager anticipation of words, words, words! – and an appointment to be kept with Shakespeare, Eliot, L’Engle and more, and sleeping was a bother in comparison.  The sparkle in mother’s eye was a veritable supernova and her teaching that humor is actual medicine? - well, that was a lovely cheese to this silly mouse.  I am the artist I have become because my mother read to me.  I am the dreamer I have become because my mother took me to the banks of Live Theatre and encouraged me to swim there.

As an adult who’s spent three decades in the world of classical theatre I tend to be drawn to the darker material which analyzes the mind and marrow of the human experience, but I also thrill to the sensations of light magic - and so to direct The Wind In The Willows has succeeded in an important thing: to feel like a moppet again, marveling in the adventures of these English gentle-beings who live by the river and venture forth in simple and pure ways.

Kenneth Grahame had just one child, and it was the wayward and headstrong nature he saw in his little son which was transformed into the swaggering of Mr. Toad in this story. This century old classic wends its way into the minds of the next generations as they read at night, and bedspreads transform into the English countryside where the innocent animal friends climb over the hilly knees and into the fabric crevices of imagination.  Grahame's epitaph reads: "To the beautiful memory of Kenneth Grahame, husband of Elspeth and father of Alastair, who passed the River on the 6 July 1932, leaving childhood and literature through him the more blest for all time".

The Willowy Wind blows through our minds.  The Wild Wood is tamed.  The River Bank burbles on.

-Randall Stuart