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Commissioned Works

The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy

Rinde Eckert, Creative Campus Fellow

Discover the creative process behind-the-scenes on Eckert's blog. It spans the entire process, from preliminary experiments to dress rehearsals with the actors.


Rinde Eckert, a celebrated playwright, was in residency at Wesleyan as part of the Creative Campus Initiative in conjunction with the Theater Department. Eckert researched with Wesleyan faculty members Kari Weil and John Kirn as he developed a new play that was performed by Wesleyan students on November 15 -17, 2012. 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, but longing for a return to the wilderness of the wolf he once was. How does one recover one's original, less conditioned or acculturated self? What is gained in the effort? What is lost in translation? Our language gets us in deep trouble and elevates us at the same time. Should I be howling now?

Rinde Eckert is a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer, and director and an inaugural recipient of a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2012). His Opera/New Music Theatre productions have toured major theater festivals throughout Europe, Asia, and the U.S. 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. 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, Eckert's work is alchemical: moving from rumination and distillation to hard-won illumination, or its lack. Following his success teaching a course in creativity at Princeton University in 2007, Rinde began a residency in 2009 which now extends through six years. 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. He was also 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. His work, And God Created Whales, won a Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance. For more information, visit his website.

The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy is co-commissioned by Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts Creative Campus Initiative with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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The Creative Campus Website is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Contact: Andrew Chatfield