This article is from 2007.
How do you represent a legend on stage? American actor and musician David Lutken has wrestled with the problem of playing the legendary folk singer and political activist of the depression era and beyond. And he thinks he’s come up with a solution.
‘Woody Guthrie, is such an iconic figure in American folklore that we all know the major events and major songs in his life,’ Lutken explains. ‘What we’re trying to present here is a little more of the personal history, which led to his political activism. His personal life was pretty rough from his earliest days in Oklahoma. It’s interesting to discover, and I don’t know if anyone has ever tried this before.’
What emerges is a day of song interspersed with Guthrie’s own writings for left wing newspapers, gelling into an evening with Woody and his band that might shed some new light on the man. ‘He spent his life rising above all these definitions of people that kept them down,’ says Lutkens. ‘If we can get some of that across, it might create something where people feel that they can overcome the things that are put in their way. If not, they’ll enjoy the music.’
Udderbelly, 0870 745 3083, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 1.35pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6.