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Punch and Judy Get Divorced

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Judy fights with Punch. Punch fights with Judy. In fact, they’ve been fighting for centuries. Finally, they decide to get a divorce. A post-modern vaudeville romp, Punch and Judy Get Divorced borrows traditional characters of commedia dell’arte puppet theater and stirs them into a mix of ordinary loving, embattled men and women, and notable historical couples. The framework of this highly stylized, acrobatically choreographed new musical is a traveling “Punch & Judy” Puppet Show. Sets spin, actors become scenery, scenery becomes characters, and the themes of love, marriage, and rebellion pop up everywhere, as genders bend, identities blend, and the fun theatrics never end. Produced in association with the American Music Theatre Festival.

SYNOPSIS

A man and a woman meet. They are attracted to each other. They date. They become intimate and fall in love, or they fall in love and become intimate. They marry and have a child or children. They quarrel. They make up. Time passes. Punch and Judy Get Divorced borrows traditional characters of popular puppet theater and stirs them into a mix of ordinary, loving, embattled men and women, and notable historical couples. Punch, Judy, The Baby, The Dog, Polly The Other Woman, The Clown, and The Devil are all present. As sets spin, actors become scenery; scenery becomes characters; and the themes of love, marriage, and rebellion pop up everywhere. Punch and Judy with the Devil’s help reenact the story of Adam and Eve. Polly, the other woman, tries to steal Punch away from Judy. In Part II, all the actors, men and women, play Judys: all the Judys who are divorced, widowed, deserted, and alone by choice. The single Judy who misses Punch, the Judy who never had a Punch, the Judy who never wanted any Punch, and the Judy who prefers Judys all live together and talk and sing of life without men.

Credits

Creative team

Book by

David Gordon

David Gordon (director, choreographer, and co-writer of Punch and Judy Get Divorced) performed in the companies of James Waring and Yvonne Rainer in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he was a founding member of the improvisational group the Grand Union. In 1971 he formed the Pick Up Performance Company (incorporated in 1978 as a non-profit organization), which helps to support and administer his work in live performance and media. He is a Guggenheim Fellow (1981 and 1987) and has been a panelist and chairman of the dance program panel of the NEA. His video work has appeared on Great Performances, Alive TV, the BBC, and Channel 4/Great Britain. The Mysteries and What's So Funny?, written and directed by Gordon with music by Philip Glass and visual design by Red Grooms, was awarded a Bessie Award and an Obie Award. The script was published in Grove New American Theater. Recently Gordon collaborated with Ain Gordon on The Family Business, which premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City in February 1994, received an Obie Award, and was presented at New York Theatre Workshop and at the Mark Taper Forum in 1995. They collaborated again on the text for Punch and Judy Get Divorced, which premiered at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia in May. He directed and choreographed the original production of Shlemiel the First for the American Repertory Theater and the American Music Theater Festival, as well as the national tours of the show. He received a National Theatre Artist Residency Grant (funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by TCG) to work with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and he directed and choreographed The Firebugs by Max Frisch for their mainstage in 1995. He is currently working with Ain Gordon on a commission from the Mark Taper Forum.

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Book by

Ain Gordon

Ain Gordon (co-writer of Punch and Judy Get Divorced) has been writing and directing since 1984. His work has been produced in New York City by Soho Repertory Theater, Dance Theater Workshop (five times), Performance Space 122, Dancing in the Streets, and the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church. His work has also been presented by Dance Place (Washington, D.C.), the Baltimore Museum of Art, Spirit Square, and the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, where he was artist-in-residence. He has collaborated with Gayle Tufts, and Julian Webber, and with Wally Cardona on a project developed at Dansens Hus, Stockholm, Sweden. In June 1993, Gordon directed and wrote original text for Bebe Miller's Nothing Can Happen Only Once, which premiered at the Wexner Center in Ohio. He collaborated with David Gordon (as co-director, co-writer, and performer) in The Family Business, which received an Obie Award. He recently collaborated with David Gordon on the text for Punch and Judy Get Divorced, and they are currently collaborating on a new work commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum. He is a 1992 NYFA Playwriting fellow. His newest play, Wally's Ghost (for which he received an Obie Award in playwrighting), premiered at Soho Rep. in April.

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Lyrics by

Arnold Weinstein

Arnold Weinstein (co-lyricist of Punch and Judy Get Divorced) was lyricist of the American Repertory Theater's world premiere production of Shlemiel the First. His current projects include an adaptation of A View from the Bridge with Arthur Miller and William Bolcom for Lyric Opera of Chicago and the preparation of a Story Theater version of Wind in the Willows for the Mark Taper Forum. His recent projects include Cabaret Songs, published by E. B. Marks, and a collaboration with Robert Altman on the libretto for William Bolcom's opera McTeague for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. With Mr. Bolcom he also collaborated on Dynamite Tonight! and Casino Paradise. Mr. Weinstein has collaborated with artists Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol, Howard Kanovitz, and Marisol, and his plays include the award-winning Red Eye of Love and Ovid's Metamorphoses, which had its premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1969 and was subsequently presented on Broadway. Mr. Weinstein also wrote the Story Theater series for television. What Did I Do? The Unauthorized Autobiography, his collaboration with Larry Rivers, has just been published by Harper Collins.

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Lyrics by

David Gordon

David Gordon (director, choreographer, and co-writer of Punch and Judy Get Divorced) performed in the companies of James Waring and Yvonne Rainer in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he was a founding member of the improvisational group the Grand Union. In 1971 he formed the Pick Up Performance Company (incorporated in 1978 as a non-profit organization), which helps to support and administer his work in live performance and media. He is a Guggenheim Fellow (1981 and 1987) and has been a panelist and chairman of the dance program panel of the NEA. His video work has appeared on Great Performances, Alive TV, the BBC, and Channel 4/Great Britain. The Mysteries and What's So Funny?, written and directed by Gordon with music by Philip Glass and visual design by Red Grooms, was awarded a Bessie Award and an Obie Award. The script was published in Grove New American Theater. Recently Gordon collaborated with Ain Gordon on The Family Business, which premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City in February 1994, received an Obie Award, and was presented at New York Theatre Workshop and at the Mark Taper Forum in 1995. They collaborated again on the text for Punch and Judy Get Divorced, which premiered at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia in May. He directed and choreographed the original production of Shlemiel the First for the American Repertory Theater and the American Music Theater Festival, as well as the national tours of the show. He received a National Theatre Artist Residency Grant (funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by TCG) to work with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and he directed and choreographed The Firebugs by Max Frisch for their mainstage in 1995. He is currently working with Ain Gordon on a commission from the Mark Taper Forum.

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Directed and choreographed by

David Gordon

Directed and choreographed by

David Gordon

David Gordon (director, choreographer, and co-writer of Punch and Judy Get Divorced) performed in the companies of James Waring and Yvonne Rainer in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he was a founding member of the improvisational group the Grand Union. In 1971 he formed the Pick Up Performance Company (incorporated in 1978 as a non-profit organization), which helps to support and administer his work in live performance and media. He is a Guggenheim Fellow (1981 and 1987) and has been a panelist and chairman of the dance program panel of the NEA. His video work has appeared on Great Performances, Alive TV, the BBC, and Channel 4/Great Britain. The Mysteries and What's So Funny?, written and directed by Gordon with music by Philip Glass and visual design by Red Grooms, was awarded a Bessie Award and an Obie Award. The script was published in Grove New American Theater. Recently Gordon collaborated with Ain Gordon on The Family Business, which premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City in February 1994, received an Obie Award, and was presented at New York Theatre Workshop and at the Mark Taper Forum in 1995. They collaborated again on the text for Punch and Judy Get Divorced, which premiered at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia in May. He directed and choreographed the original production of Shlemiel the First for the American Repertory Theater and the American Music Theater Festival, as well as the national tours of the show. He received a National Theatre Artist Residency Grant (funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by TCG) to work with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and he directed and choreographed The Firebugs by Max Frisch for their mainstage in 1995. He is currently working with Ain Gordon on a commission from the Mark Taper Forum.

View full biography

Set design by

David Gordon

Set design by

David Gordon

David Gordon (director, choreographer, and co-writer of Punch and Judy Get Divorced) performed in the companies of James Waring and Yvonne Rainer in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he was a founding member of the improvisational group the Grand Union. In 1971 he formed the Pick Up Performance Company (incorporated in 1978 as a non-profit organization), which helps to support and administer his work in live performance and media. He is a Guggenheim Fellow (1981 and 1987) and has been a panelist and chairman of the dance program panel of the NEA. His video work has appeared on Great Performances, Alive TV, the BBC, and Channel 4/Great Britain. The Mysteries and What's So Funny?, written and directed by Gordon with music by Philip Glass and visual design by Red Grooms, was awarded a Bessie Award and an Obie Award. The script was published in Grove New American Theater. Recently Gordon collaborated with Ain Gordon on The Family Business, which premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City in February 1994, received an Obie Award, and was presented at New York Theatre Workshop and at the Mark Taper Forum in 1995. They collaborated again on the text for Punch and Judy Get Divorced, which premiered at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia in May. He directed and choreographed the original production of Shlemiel the First for the American Repertory Theater and the American Music Theater Festival, as well as the national tours of the show. He received a National Theatre Artist Residency Grant (funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by TCG) to work with the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and he directed and choreographed The Firebugs by Max Frisch for their mainstage in 1995. He is currently working with Ain Gordon on a commission from the Mark Taper Forum.

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Costume design by

Adelle Lutz

Costume design by

Adelle Lutz

Film credits for Adelle Lutz, costume designer of Punch and Judy Get Divorced, include: True Stories, Checking Out, Making Mr. Right, and numerous music videos. Theater credits include the Knee Plays for the CIVIL warS, directed by David Byrne and Robert Wilson, and Leon and Lena (and Lenz), directed by Joanne Akalaitis. She co-directed with Sandy McLeod the video "It's Too Darn Hot for the Red Hot & Blue," seen in thirty-five countries to benefit AIDS organizations. Museum shows include the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), "Fashion and Surrealism" (Fashion Institute of Technology), and "Bloom" (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

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Lighting design by

Stan Pressner

Lighting design by

Stan Pressner

Stan Pressner (lighting designer for Punch and Judy Get Divorced) has designed for the New York City Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Ralph Lemon, Bayerische Staadtsballet, Geneva Ballet, Boston Ballet, Stephen Petronio, and Netherlands Dance Theatre. Recent projects include: Light Shall Light Them (Next Wave Festival), Four Symphonies (Geneva Opera Ballet), The Family Business (Mark Taper Forum), and Robert La Fosse's Rags. He was a 1988 Bessie Award winner for cumulative achievement and American Theatre Wing Design Award nominee in 1988, 1991, and 1994.

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Sound design by

Christopher Walker

Sound design by

Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has composed music and designed sound for We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, Phaedra, Beckett Trio: Eh Joe, Ghost Trio, and Nacht und Traüme, and An Evening of Beckett, and designed sound for The King Stag, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, Ivanov, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Charlie in the House of Rue, The Merchant of Venice, Valparaiso, The Taming of the Shrew, The Bacchae, The Wild Duck, Woyzeck, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Wild Duck, Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, Buried Child, Ubu Rock, The Threepenny Opera, The Accident, Demons, Waiting for Godot, The Oresteia, Hot 'n' Throbbing, The America Play, A Touch of the Poet, The Cherry Orchard, What the Butler Saw, and Those the River Keeps at the A.R.T. Previously he composed music and designed sound for productions at the Intiman Theatre, the Bathhouse Theatre, and the Alice B. Theatre. He also scores for dance and has composed for the Allegro Dance Festival, the Bumbershoot Festival, and On The Boards.

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Music Directed by

Alan Johnson

Music Directed by

Alan Johnson

The Sound of a Voice (Music Director/Conductor). A.R.T.: The Mysteries and What's So Funny? and Punch and Judy Get Divorced (Music Director). Conducted opera and music-theater premieres by composers Philip Glass, Polly Pen, Dan Moses Schreier, Tina Davidson, John Duffy, Leroy Jenkins, Michael John LaChiusa, Edward Barnes, Jonathan Dove, and John Moran. Productions: In the Penal Colony (Classic Stage Company), The Three Willies (the Kitchen), The Night Governess (McCarter Theatre), The Shoulder (Long Wharf Theatre), Billy and Zelda (Opera Delaware), Black Water (Prince Theater), Cymbeline, Henry IV Parts I and II, All's Well That Ends Well, First Lady Suite (New York Shakespeare Festival), The Manson Family (Lincoln Center), Bed and Sofa (Vineyard Theatre). Vocal coach and pianist: premieres of Glass's Orphée, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, Hydrogen Jukebox, La Belle et la Bête; Anthony Davis's Amistad and Tania; Adam Guettel's Floyd Collins; John Adams' Nixon in China. Solo and joint recitals: Walker Art Center, Diverseworks, Dia Center for the Arts, Alice Tully Hall, the Kitchen. 1998 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Music Direction. Degrees in music from University of Illinois, University of Miami (studying with John Wustman and Ivan Davis). Upcoming: Arjuna's Dilemma, an adaptation of the Bhagavad Gita by composer Douglas Cuomo (Music-Theatre Group).

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Orchestration by

Bruce Coughlin

Orchestration by

Bruce Coughlin

Bruce Coughlin's show orchestrations include Punch and Judy Get Divorced, the current Broadway revival of The King and I, Floyd Collins, Das Barbecü, Casino Paradise, the stage version of Lunch, Pal Joey in Boston, Another Midsummer Night, Romance in Hard Times, Book of the Night, and Where's Dick at the Houston Grand Opera. Album credits include: On the Town (three songs) and Arias and Barcarolles (Bernstein; Michael Tilson Thomas/London Symphony). Film credits include Disney's Fantasia Continued (James Levine/Chicago Symphony). Other album credits: the soundtrack recording of Immortal Beloved for Sony Classical (Sir Georg Solti, conductor).

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Red Dog Scott Cunningham
Punch 2, Judy Bell, Taxi Judy Benjamin Evett
Judy 2, Polly 2, Ma Judy Gail Grate
Punch 1, Aunt Judy James Judy
The Devil, The Judge, Mrs. Judy, Dr. Judy Charles Levin
Judy 1, Polly 1, Gramma Judy Lola Pashalinski
Judy baby, Punch, Jr., Judy Jr., Baby Judy Alice Playten
Toby the dog Lisa D. White