About Peach Orchard Plays
Peach Orchard isn't so much a theatre company as it is an interdisciplinary teaching company using theatre arts to create memorable learning experiences for a wide variety of audiences.
We used to watch and wait on the sidelines as various theatre companies struggled with what it meant to create meaningful theatrical experiences for young audiences. Much too often we found impersonations of historical characters, human toothbrushes and HMO-sponsored propaganda; were these the best our country could offer? The answer was decidedly no. But the key was to find the right combination of subject, substance and style to launch a worthwhile effort.
I wish I could say the result was due to a Manhattan Project type of effort. The truth is that we stumbled onto it as we passionately pursued a new way to teach an old topic to a young audience. The result was "Constitution Now". You can read about it here. But more than that, it was also the genesis of Peach Orchard Plays.
From the words of Shakespeare to the worlds of Maeterlinck to the streets of New York, Peach Orchard is awash in theatrical and cultural influences. But one thing is sure. We will do whatever it takes to infuse the learning in a memorable way, and just as important, a way that raises the cultural bar for our national audience. You and your young charges deserve nothing less.
And it will be fun...
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry J. Hunt
Larry Hunt is an actor, director, mask-maker, and educator. Since 1977, he has performed throughout most of the United States, much of Canada, and many other countries including China, Japan, Australia, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Bulgaria, Serbia and England.
Since 1980, Larry has produced and performed original theater works under the auspices of MASQUE, an international touring company which he founded. Larry Hunt creates all of his own masks, characters, and situations. Each mask embodies a “clown” persona in the most positive and dramatic sense of the word.
With this in mind, the characters and situations are involved in observing and commenting on the human situation whether it be the absurdity of the ego or the plight of a lonely old man. Much of the work is on a metaphorical basis which guides the audience to their personal involvement and interpretations.
Larry has evolved a distinctive version of mask performance which combines historical traditions with innovative approaches to body movement and improvisation. In addition to solo performances incorporating original masks and puppets, he has collaborated extensively with other performing artists worldwide.
A recent challenge was to write and direct a non-verbal mask / puppet version of “Hamlet” with Dunkelfolket Theatre Company in Aalborg, Denmark.
In September of 2003, Larry performed at festivals and theatres in Bulgaria and Serbia and consequently was asked to return for mask movement workshops and to choreograph a musical version of “Animal Farm” in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. He subsequently conducted Mask workshops at the Infant Festival 2004 in Novi Sad, Serbia.
Larry conceived and directed a work entitled “Playing With Klee” with Chinese and American artists. Based on the art work of Paul Klee, this production had its world premier in Hong Kong in January 2001 in collaboration with Ming Ri Theatre.
Growing up an Army brat, I was lucky enough to travel the world and learn about a multitude of cultures. Wanderlust continued during an acting and directing career which took me coast to coast into a variety of resident theatres and touring companies. During one of them, in 1982, I did a show with a talented performer named Larry Hunt.
Subsequently, marriage, family and university teaching led to the world of business, culminating in the creation of MedView Media, a video production and post house. Then early in 2006, lightning struck. Well, OK, actually it was a phone call. It was Larry Hunt with an intriguing proposal.
Would I be interested in helping him write a play about the US Constitution? “That old paper that no one pays any attention to?”, I asked.
“The same”, quoth Lawrence.
Now, due to my multicultural exposure I had already traveled from one end of the political spectrum to the other, espousing almost every form of political discourse from Republican, Democrat, Socialist, to Anarcho-Capitalism, subscribing to almost every other “ism” you could think of, all part of my journey to understand what it means to be an American. But the Constitution? Well, that was different. Still, don’t they say you teach what you need to learn?
So with a heart that had never moved far from theatre I fairly jumped at the chance to help my old friend Larry with this fateful project. We couldn’t know at the time where it would lead, but our writing and producing collaboration on Constitution Now has been one of the most rewarding artistic and interdisciplinary experiences of my life.
The fact is, all of Mr. Hunt’s revolutionary work fits comfortably into the genre we are creating. He has never talked down to his audiences and has an undying passion for both the education of the whole person and theatre in its most rarified manifestations. Certainly we share those passions. But he is just so much better at the theatre piece. I’m humbled to be associated with this company. But it ain’t just me...
This has become a family affair. You’ll find articles by noted teachers Jennifer Hunt and Barbara Mochrie Washer, elsewhere on the site. We know you’ll find their insights both refreshing and illuminating.
We invite you to join us on this light-hearted journey of discovery and we look forward to hearing from you.
In that light, I would urge you to sign up for the newsletter so that we can continue this conversation. What will we learn together? How to see clearly, how to teach truly, how to help students think for themselves, how to harness creativity for the good of all, and finally, how theatre can enrich the life of a nation, starting with you.
Yes, absolutely, you. Join us and you’ll find out how.