World Premiere of Rinde Eckert's "The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy" at Wesleyan University November 15-17

World Premiere of Rinde Eckert's "The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy" at Wesleyan University November 15-17

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts
and Theater Department present the World Premiere of
Rinde Eckert’s “The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy”

Thursday, November 15 through Saturday, November 17, 2012

Middletown, Conn.—Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts and Theater Department present the world premiere of "The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy", a new work written and directed by Rinde Eckert during his residency at Wesleyan as Visiting Artist in Theater and Creative Campus Fellow. The four performances—on Thursday, November 15 and Friday, November 16 at 8pm, and Saturday, November 17 at 2pm and 8pm in the CFA Theater, located at 271 Washington Terrace on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown—will feature Mr. Eckert as well as Wesleyan Theater students (see below for cast members). Wesleyan Theater Professor John Carr is Head of Production, Adjunct Associate Professor of Theater Marcela Oteíza is Scenic Designer and Prop Master, Visiting Instructor in Theater Christian Milik is the Costume and Puppet Designer, Assistant Technical Director Robert Russo is the Sound Designer, guest artist Jiyoun Chang is Lighting Designer, and Benjamin Zucker '14 is Musical Director. "The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy" was commissioned by the Center for the Arts, made possible by the Creative Campus Initiative and leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and is co-sponsored by the Music Department and the Ethics in Society Project at Wesleyan University.

Rinde Eckert is a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer and director. The New York Times has said that he is "an artist who travels regularly into the upper strata of myth, philosophy, classical  music and world literature."  His opera/new music theater productions have toured throughout America and to major theater festivals in Europe and Asia. With a virtuosic command of gesture, language, and song, the total theater artist moves beyond the boundaries of what a "play," a "dance piece," an "opera" or "musical" might be, in the service of grappling with complex issues. Mr. Eckert describes many of his characters as "little men with big ideas whose consequences of their hubris are often disastrous." Sometimes tragic and austere, sometimes broadly comedic, entirely grounded by presence, his work is alchemical—moving from rumination and distillation to hard-won illumination, or its lack. In April 2012, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation named Mr. Eckert as one of 21 inaugural Doris Duke Performing Artist Award recipients. Each performing artist in the first class will receive an unrestricted, multi-year cash grant of $225,000. Rinde was the 2009 recipient of The Alpert Award in the Arts for his contributions to theater, and was the finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for his play Orpheus X. Mr. Eckert also wrote the text and performed in the multi-media production Slide with composer/guitarist Steven Mackey and the new music ensemble eighth blackbird, which toured to major university campuses. Cedille Records renamed the project Lonely Motel, which won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance.

“The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy” is about a man raised by wolves who finds himself toward the end of his life at the top of the food chain. Powerful and erudite, a "wild child" who has assimilated, he longs for a return to the wildness of the wolf he was—but how does one recover one's original, less conditioned or acculturated self? What is gained in the effort? What is lost in translation?

In "The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy", Wesleyan students play the "young" version of the character, and Mr. Eckert plays the "old" version of the character. The cast includes Sivan Battat '15, Solomon Billinkoff '14, Mikhail Firer '13, Audrey Kiely '13, Matthew Krakaur '14, Jiovani Robles '13, Alma Sanchez-Eppler '14, and Christine Treuhold '13.

Click here to watch a preview video of "The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy" which features interviews with Rinde Eckert and Alma Sanchez-Eppler '14:
To read Mr. Eckert’s blog about the creation of “The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy,” please visit

Rinde Eckert previously performed two solo one-act plays, entitled "An Idiot Divine", in the Patricelli '92 Theater as part of the Outside the Box Theater Series at Wesleyan University in September 2010. In July 2012, Mr. Eckert presented a talk entitled "Performance Musings" in the CFA Hall as part of the Summer at the Center for the Arts Series, performing excerpts of his work and discussing his creative process during a residency at Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance.

Admission for the performances of "The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy" is $8 for the general public; $5 for senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff, and non-Wesleyan students; and $4 for Wesleyan students. Tickets are available online at, by phone at (860) 685-3355, or in person at the Wesleyan University Box Office, located in the Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown. Tickets may also be purchased at the door beginning one hour prior to the performance, subject to availability. The Center for the Arts accepts cash, checks written to “Wesleyan University,” and all major credit cards. Groups of ten or more may receive a discount – please call (860) 685-3355 for details. No refunds, cancellations, or exchanges.  

About Rinde Eckert

Rinde Eckert began his career as a writer/performer in the 1980s, writing librettos for Paul Dresher (Pioneer, Power Failure, Slow Fire, Ravenshead). He subsequently composed dance scores for choreographers Sarah Shelton Mann and Margaret Jenkins, including the evening-length Woman, Window, Square for The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company. In 1992 Rinde began composing and performing his own music/theater pieces with The Gardening of Thomas D, an homage to Dante which toured the United States and to France.  His staged works for solo performer include Romeo Sierra Tango and Quit This House. Shoot the Moving Things and Four Songs Lost in a Wall are written for radio.

Theatrical writing credits and awards include Highway Ulysses and Four Songs Lost in a Wall (The American Academy of Arts and Letters 2005 Marc Blitzstein Award); Horizon (2007-2008 Drama Desk Nominations: Best Play, Best Director; Lucille Lortel Award: "Unique Theatrical Experience"); And God Created Great Whales (OBIE Award: Best Performance, Drama Desk Nomination: "Unique Theatrical Experience"). Three of Rinde Eckert’s plays - And God Created Great Whales, Horizon and Orpheus X - have had successful off-Broadway runs.

Mr. Eckert’s theatrical work has been produced in New York City by The Foundry Theatre, Culture Project, Theater for a New Audience and the New York Theatre Workshop. Outside of New York, American Repertory Theatre, Center Stage in Baltimore, Dobama Theatre Company, REDCAT at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater in Los Angeles, and Berkeley Repertory Theater have produced his work, which has been directed by Robert Woodruff, David Schweizer, Richard ET White, Tony Taccone and Ellen McLaughlin. Mr. Eckert has directed his own and others’ plays and operas for The Asia Society, Juggernaut Theater, Opera Piccola and the Paul Dresher Ensemble.

Following his success teaching a creativity course at Princeton University, Rinde began a 6-year residency in the spring of 2009.  He was the 2008 Granada Artist-in-Residence at the University of California at Davis Department of Theater and Dance where he wrote and directed Fate and Spinoza, and was in partnership with the University of Iowa to create, write, direct and perform in Eye Piece, a play exploring the loss of vision and involving 30 theater students.  

New music writing and directing projects include the critically acclaimed Sandhills Reunion CD (music by Jerry Granelli, text by Mr. Eckert); The Schick Machine with virtuoso percussionist Steven Schick in a solo-theater work composed/produced by Paul Dresher; Imaginary City with So Percussion; Sound Stage for the ensemble Zeitgeist; and Steven Mackey’s oratorio Dream House. Conducted by Gil Rose with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the recording received three 2010 Grammy Nominations: Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical.

Gurs Zyklus, a new music/performance/multi-media installation and collaboration with sound sculptor Trimpin debuted at Stanford University and was part of On the Boards in Seattle in May 2012. Mr. Eckert and Mr. Mackey are also members of BIG FARM, the 4-person "prog-rock" super group with drummer Jason Treuting (So Percussion) and bassist Mark Haanstra. Rinde Eckert’s own uniquely eclectic music is released on Germany’s Intuition label and through Songline/Tonefield Productions.

Rinde Eckert lives in New York with his wife, Ellen McLaughlin, the playwright and actress.

For more information about Mr. Eckert, please visit

About the Theater Department
The Theater Department embraces a broad definition of theater, and considers the critical and creative study of the stage to be essential components of a liberal arts education. Courses and productions reflect the interdisciplinary interests of faculty and majors. The department's diverse faculty conducts research and creative endeavors in every continent. Recent Visiting Artists include Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegria Hudes and OBIE award recipient Leah Gardiner. English Professor and pioneer American designer Ralph Pendleton created Wesleyan's Theater program in the mid 1930s. Mr. Pendleton served as the department's first chair until his retirement in 1974 and was an important contributor to the opening of the Center for the Arts.

Wesleyan's Theater Department alumni are notably active in the professional metier: they appear on international and and national stages, on and off Broadway, and many are the recipients of prestigious awards: "Bessie" Award designers Chloe Brown and Roderk Murray, Emmy Award recipients Dana Delany and Bradley Whitford, and Tony Award winners Frank Wood and Lin-Manuel Miranda are a few examples. Several have joined renowned American companies, while others are the founding members of cutting-edge collarobative ensembles, acclaimed solo performers, and community activists.

For more information about the Theater Department, please visit