'Running on Top of the Water' premieres at Hooker Dunham

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BRATTLEBORO — "Running on Top of the Water (A Play of Mania and Mastery)," written, produced and acted by Charles Monette, with words of Robert Lowell, and directed by Miles Keefe, had its world premiere at the Hooker Dunham Theater on April 11.

Music by Justin Fetterman, lighting and design tech by Russ Greibic, and Alistair Follansbee, scene design by Charlo, and contributions to the set by Heidi Lorenz and E. V. Valentine enhance the poetic beauty and tortuous world Monette's Lowell realizes.

Monette's nuanced portrait of Lowell's life is brilliant and sets a familiarity with Lowell's world that is stunning. Collaborative artifice and thespian intimacy explore the relationship between art human suffering, war and false patriotism and the complexity of unbridled passionate relationships in dark times.

Monette and company capture the life struggle of this quintessential New England poet, aristocrat and cultural Icon. Scenes of despair melt the boundary between illusion and reality, for this witness swept away by what fine actors seek but rarely achieve — to be catapulted into aching relevance to present conditions.

Lowell abhorred the violent excesses of World War II and went to prison for evading the draft. "Running on Top of the Water" is a metaphor for now. The beauty of Lowell's poetry, the depth of his suffering, and the integrity of the his resistance to society's madness, renders a cathartic tradition upon which we a can draw.

Additional performances of "Running on Top of the Water" are scheduled for Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

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