DREAMING: Little Nemo In Slumberland Revisited

title plus Winsor McCay graphic
Spring, 2018
Written By: Howard L. Craft
Directed By: Torry Bend
An original faculty work-in-progress

April 13 & 14 at 8p, April 15 at 2p in Sheafer Theater, free admission

Duke Theater Studies faculty designer/puppeteer Professor Torry Bend and award-winning playwright Howard L. Craft bring their process of creating a new work to the spring 2018 mainstage production course. 

For an in-depth photo essay on the finished project, please visit lens.duke.edu/puppet-mastery

The project will begin with a single source material, Winsor McCay's weekly comic Little Nemo in Slumberland (which ran in the New York Herald from 1905 to 1911) and create a puppet show from that material. The class will cover the beginning phases of that development. 

Winsor McCay’s work was incredibly influential for comics and cartoons, but his art also contains outdated, offensive and racially charged imagery. Participants in the project will confront this material and explore adaptation techniques for performance today.  During the semester, students will both follow Howard Craft in his writing process and develop scenes for the production, as they learn the necessary skills to create a puppet show including puppet design, construction and performance. With support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, puppet performance coach Evan Mitchell will coach the students as they perform with puppets for the very first time.  There will be final performances which will include conversation about confronting this material, a reading of Craft’s script and performed scenes developed over the semester. 


Torry Bend, director/designer

Howard Craft, playwright

Robert Chamberlain, composer/musician

Liz Droessler, lighting designer

Reilly Johnson, costume designer*

Todd Warner, sound designer

Tyler Kless, assistant sound designer/board operator

Anne Driscoll, stage manager*

Drina Dunlap, production assistant

Lindsey Elcessor, lead puppet builder

Evan Mitchell, puppet performance coach

Rich Kless, technical director

David Berberian, scene shop supervisor

Jessica Minor, senior technician

Dierdre Shipman, producer


PUPPETEERS  (Note that student puppeteers also designed and built puppets, and created scenes)

Drina Dunlap

Ashley Ericson*

Katelyn Gochenour*

Cassie Martin*

Maria Zurita Ontiveros



Lexi Bateman

Neil Dhar*

Wei Tan 

Jennifer Zhou

*students enrolled in THEATRST 350

Production support from the Department of Theater Studies staff, Cynthia Bunn and Rachel Thimke, and the UCAE staff of Theater Operations, under the direction of Marcy Edenfield.