Monday, July 9, 2012


The art of storytelling, wrapped in a cloak of myths, mystery and magic, is being woven and worn beautifully at the Yale Summer Cabaret.  Their “50 Nights: A Festival of Stories” features three afternoons and evenings of theater filled with fantasy from all over the world.

Until Sunday, August 19, you are invited on a theatrical adventure in the dark and intimate space of the Yale Summer Cabaret, downstairs at 217 Park Street, New Haven where for more than three decades students of the Yale School of Drama have produced imaginative and involving shows.  Come early and enjoy gourmet prepared snacks and meals, desserts and drinks and stay late for a special story from the Fireside Series, read outside on select evenings around a fire pit.

“The Kiss of D,” or Kiss of Death, is a one woman show, written by Laura Schellhardt and directed by Tanya Dean, that stars a gifted Monique Barbee as she captures seventeen characters in one classic urban legend, a tale about what we fear as well as welcome.

Travel to the small town of St. Mary’s, Ohio and immerse yourself in a story of Charlotte McGraw and how a human soul is transported into a bird.  The playwright herself describes the folklore as a “psychological necessity as well as a creepy memory” since she spent her summers in St. Mary’s, often writing there.  Here a sister experiences a visit from her dead brother who comes back to her in the form of a flying creature.

A quite different theatrical experience can be had with “Of Ogres Retold,” conceived and directed by Adam Rigg with puppets, dance, movement, music, sound and light but no voices.  The ensemble cast includes Josiah Bania, Ethan Heard, Hannah Sorenson, Mickey Theis and Alex Trow who create almost a dozen strange tales with a Japanese flavor of giants, strange creatures, magic balls of rice, jealous husbands, vengeful dragons, malevolent snow spirits, unusual fish with powers and sea monsters.

Enter the dark forest and plumb the depths of the deep ocean at your own risk where all your fears, and some you never dreamed of, come to life.  Don’t worry, the creative actors will be there to hold your hand.

The third offering is “The Secret in the Wings” by Mary Zimmerman and directed by Margot Bordelon, with the same fine cast as noted above.  Here tales from as far away as Germany, France, Italy and Norway, seven in all, are explored for their fairy tale truth, wisdom and inner struggle.

A young girl is left against her will with a strange babysitter, a Mr. Fitzbania, a neighbor with a tail and many tales.  He insists he wants to marry her and uses a series of unusual stories to woo her to his side.  The stories are filled with kings and queens and balls, childhood games and contests that result in death to the losers, slaves and princes, many-headed ogres, swans, magic feathers and all manner of creatures we love to hate.

For tickets ($25-40, student $10 or subscription packages for $70, student $29), call the Yale Summer Cabaret at 203-432-1567 or online at Come early for a fig and goat cheese tarte ($7), glass noodles with julienned vegetables ($8), a cold or hot drink or a dish of ice cream ($3)), to name but a few of the selections.

Check the website for shows Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday.  On Saturdays, July 14 and August 11, you can see the complete trio of performances:  “The K of D” at 1 p.m., “Of Ogres Retold” at 4:30 p.m. and “The Secret in the Wings” at 8 p.m.  Doors open at 1 p.m. for lunch and 6:30 p.m. for dinner.

Catch a thread of this magic tapestry of tales and follow it to the core of imagination at the theatrical center.

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