PUTNEY—This summer, Sandglass Theater will take a very special dip into their history. Each week, beginning Thursday, June 25, the theater will stream an archival video of a production that is no longer being performed in their repertoire.
These performances represent a wide spectrum of Sandglass’s work over an almost-40-year history.
A discussion will accompany each free, one-time livestream and will include special guests such as the theater’s founders, ensemble members, and collaborators.
Although Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass both launched their respective careers with solo performances (now performed in some form by two of their daughters, Shoshana and Jana), Sandglass was founded in 1982 with Eric and Ines’ first collaborative work, Sand.
In June, Sandglass will present two of the original “heaven trilogy” that began the theater’s journey, including the inaugural production, Sand, a story about a Jewish man and a German woman on the night before they begin a life together.
The second show in the trilogy, Invitations to Heaven (1990), is about the complicated relationship of Eric Bass’ grandparents, who had an arranged marriage. The performance joins raw drama with comedy and music.
“Each of these shows was built on a meeting of two worlds,” the theater notes in a news release. “In Sand, it was the dreamer and the dream. In Invitations, it was the memory and the ‘rememberer.’”
Next to stream is Dwarf Longnose (1991), an original family show by Ines Zeller Bass based on the German fairy tale by Wilhelm Hauff. Like many fairy tales, it is a story of transformation, in this case a young boy’s metamorphosis into an ugly dwarf.
July will bring two ensemble productions, including Never Been Anywhere (1997), based on short stories by Newfane writer Castle Freeman from his collection The Bride of Ambrose and Other Stories: “That is No Country for Old Men” and “Not Everyone Can Be a Soldier.”
“This show includes one of Sandglass’ most exciting puppetry moments: picking up split wood and logs from a woodpile onstage, [and] five performers work[ing] in precise coordination to create a horse that walks, prances and finally is run to its death,” the theater writes.
This month will also screen One Way Street (2002), with music by Paul Dedell and performed with Merrill Garbus (now of the indie-rock group Tune Yards), about Walter Benjamin, the German Jewish critic, philosopher, and visionary.
Both of these performances began as workshops at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where Eric Bass worked on the first versions of the shows with participants at the National Puppetry Conference.