Panoramic views are front and center on the Hudson River Museum’s gallery walls and on its new Gallery Stage too. Against a backdrop of breathtaking paintings of two iconic rivers ─ the Hudson and the Thames ─ in the exhibition The Panoramic River, students from the Sarah Lawrence Theatre Outreach Program craft an adventurous trip up the Hudson River for today’s Museum visitors, ages 6 and up.
The play Two Rivers, Two Cultures stars a BOY who travels up the Hudson and meets an EXPLORER, Henry Hudson; an ARTIST, William Guy Wall; a Native American CHARACTER, Pukwudgie; and, a hungry SQUIRREL. An original production by the Sarah Lawrence students, their script was inspired by playwright William Dunlap’s 1828 comedy A Trip to Niagara. Jokes, magic tricks, and audience involvement are all part of the fun.
Two Rivers, Two Cultures is 20 minutes long and performed at 1 and 3 pm on Sundays on the Museum’s Gallery Stage, FREE with Museum admission.
Performance schedule: Sundays February 3, 10, 17, 24; March 3, 17, 24, 31; April 7, 14, 21 and 28; and May 5.
Allen Lang and Shirley Kaplan, Sarah Lawrence College Theatre Faculty and co-directors of the Theatre Outreach Program, designed the Winter/Spring Gallery Stage performances in a new partnership with the Museum. Lang, who directs the Gallery Stage performances, said, “Theater is not accessible to everyone, and this partnership with the Hudson River Museum enables the Sarah Lawrence Theatre Outreach Program to build new audiences and spark new interest.”
The panorama experience on stage and in painting has been popular since the early 19th century. Sarah Lawrence students aim, on stage, to show today’s Museum visitors the original way panoramas were seen, not as a painting or photograph, but as a moving scroll. The moving scroll evokes an image of a long journey as it creates a theatrical experience. Adding to the feeling of a journey is a digitally moving backdrop, especially created for this contemporary play but drawn from the watercolors of William Guy Wall, an artist who, in 1820, steamed up the Hudson to record the river’s beauty in panoramic watercolor. Scenery painting for the theater is integral to panoramic art and looking back to Dunlap’s 19th-century A Trip to Niagara, it, too, featured a scrolling panorama of travel up Hudson River from New York City to the Catskills.