Dillon goes from Hamlet to Bob Dylan – then to Kahlil Gibran
PORT TOWNSEND – All summer he’s been “Hamlet”. Since Sunday evening, it’s done.
This week, Dillon Porter becomes Bob Dylan – the first show is Wednesday – and the following week, only once, he will be Kahlil Gibran’s “Prophet”.
As for the young Bob, we find him for the first time in the middle of summer 1966 in Woodstock, NY, just after the accident of his Triumph motorcycle.
âHe’s concussed, assaulted,â as Porter said, but with the help of his friends, he’s regaining his ability to speak and sing.
What he and his compatriots – including Woody Guthrie (George Rezendes) and Joan Baez (Hanna Lose-Frahn) – do in “Dillon on Dylan”.
The show arrives at the Key City Playhouse, 419 Washington St., just twice: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. This is the world premiere of Porter’s play – and, he said, “my love letter to Port Townsend”.
Porter, 35 and veteran of New York and Chicago film and theater, first came here to show his film, “Bastards y Diablos,” at the 2016 Port Townsend Film Festival.
He returned to appear in Key City’s “The Aliens”, “Murder Ballad” and “Wolf at the Door”.
Preparations for “Hamlet” began months before it opened on August 3; Porter ran the Shakespeare in the Park production for four weeks. His next place of residence will be Colombia, where he will visit in September for the premiere and promotion of âBastards y Diablosâ, which takes place there.
Inspired by Dylan’s memoir “Chronicles”, DA Pennebaker’s 1967 documentary “Don’t Look Back” and all those lyrics sung with that sandpaper voice, Porter began writing “Dillon on Dylan” in the spring. latest.
It is an exploration of music and the artist’s young life as âthe voice of his generationâ.
Here we’ll see Dylan’s mentor Guthrie, played by Rezendes of the Toolsshed SoundLab recording studio, singing and playing guitar behind a thin veil. We will meet some influential women – Flo Castner, Suze Rotolo and Patti Smith – all played by Rose Burt. We’re going to hear Baez, Dylan’s lover, sing too.
âIt’s an honor. It’s pretty amazing,â Lose-Frahn, 30, said of her role. Soaking up interviews with Baez found online, she marvels at the clear voice of the singer.
“So young, so sure, such feats,” she said. âA royal presence. ”
Still, the play is mostly about Dylan, said Lose-Frahn; Joanie does not sing any of the songs that made her famous. She offers “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” by Dylan, as well as some duets with Porter.
“My hope is that [Baezâ] the heart goes through – this amazing heart that we know is there, âsaid Lose-Frahn.
There may well be a certain chemistry on stage between the two performers. Chef, actor and singer, Lose-Frahn met Porter a year ago. The two fell in love and, she said, “have had a pretty intense and amazing relationship since then.”
When he started talking about this piece, âmy first reaction was: Yeah, Dillon, do that.
The couple then chose to collaborate on another project: âA Meal with Kahlilâ, the September 2 benefit for the Key City Public Theater. Lose-Frahn will cook the four-course dinner and play the clairvoyant Almitra at Porter’s Almustafa in Kahlil Gibran’s classic âThe Prophetâ.
Act I, “Speak to us about love,” is a summer beetroot soup iced with fresh mint; then come âOn Beautyâ, edible seasonal flowers with seven herb oil and lemon goat cheese; “Self-knowledge”, featuring peppery asparagus and seared coho and finally “Talk to me … of pleasure”, a young coconut cream with fig sap, hyssop anise, rose water and wild berries.
While Lose-Frahn imagined this meal and prepared to play Baez and Almitra, Porter also balanced the roles. During “Hamlet” he was careful to save his vocal cords.
But there have been times in recent rehearsals of “Dillon on Dylan” where he took that voice.
âBob Dylan walked into the room,â was Lose-Frahn’s reaction.
Asked about it, Porter joked that Dylan is “a good singer.” [with a] bad instrument. Yes, he hopes to sound like him, “but I hope it’s not a parody”.
It turns out that in his 2016 speech accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, Dylan spoke about Shakespeare’s poetry and the modern songwriter profession. Just as “Hamlet” was meant for the stage, not the page, he said, the songs are meant to be sung and heard aloud.
Finally, this bard from Greenwich Village quoted Homer’s âThe Odysseyâ:
“Sing within me, O Muse, and through me tell the story.”
âDillon on Dylan,â written by Dillon Porter and directed by Brendan Chambers, arrives on stage at 7:30 pm. Wednesday and Thursday at the Key City Playhouse, 419 Washington St. Tickets are $ 20.
âA Meal with Kahlilâ, a dinner prepared especially for a performance of âThe Prophetâ by Kahlil Gibran, begins at 6 pm. this season.
For more information on the three productions, visit keycitypublictheater.org or call 360-385-5278.
Diane Urbani de la Paz, former editor-in-chief of the Peninsula Daily News, is a freelance writer living in Port Townsend.