DAVID T. LITTLE
DAVID T. LITTLE
How do you deal with your world, when madness becomes the behavioral norm?
Based on a short story by Judy Budnitz, Dog Days is a contemporary opera from celebrated composer/librettist team David T. Little & Royce Vavrek that investigates the psychology of a working class American family against a not-so-distant-future wartime scenario. It asks: is it madness, delusion, or human / animal instinct that guides us through severely trying times? Where exactly is the line between animal and human? At what point must we give in to our animal instincts merely to survive?
Told predominantly from the perspective of Lisa, a thirteen-year-old girl, we watch as the world slowly falls apart around her. We watch her family progressively starve, her mother give up on life, and her father struggle to fulfill his own myth of the provider. We see her brothers flee the stasis of their lives through more and more regular recreational drug use, for which they ultimately give everything for the illusion of escape.
Then we meet Prince, a man in a dog suit, begging for food. Is he mad, or the only one who can still see clearly? No one can be sure. They say that you can tell a lot about a culture by the way it treats its animals. It also bears to reason that you can tell a lot about a person by how long they can remain truly human during traumatic times.
Dog Days was premiered on September 29, 2012 in the Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey, directed by Robert Woodruff and conducted by Alan Pierson. It is dedicated to Beth Morrison.
Produced by Peak Performances @ Montclair State (NJ) in association with Beth Morrison Projects. Selections were commissioned and presented by Carnegie Hall for the Weill Music Institute. Scenes were presented as part of New York City Opera’s VOX Contemporary American Opera Lab. Tour produced by Beth Morrison Projects and additional perfromances have included LA Opera – Off Grand REDCAT (Los Angeles, 2015), NYC premiere PROTOTYPE Festival 2016, and Skirball Center (New York).
"It's only a matter of time before this riveting show is confirmed as a groundbreaking American classic."
"Powerful and unsettling"
"A taut, nuanced work that clawed beneath the surface of every situation...its poetry is indelible and affecting."
"The premiere of a new work by the composer David T. Little is always worth exploring, and his operas — “Dog Days,” “JFK” — reveal him to be an especially powerful composer for the voice."
01 / 04