Thoreau at Home and his One World at a Time
Thoreau at Home, written by David Wagoner, is brought to life through the performance of Todd Jefferson Moore and the direction of Richard E.T. White. The musical accompaniment is done by Peter Richards, and the stage management by Emily Grierson. It is put on at 18th & Union in Capitol Hill, January 19th-21st at 7:30 p.m. and January 22nd at 4:30 p.m.. The play invites you to feel as if you are engaging in conversation with Mr. Thoreau, discussing the sublime qualities of nature while lamenting upon the horrors of commonplace disrespect for the natural world.
We are invited into Thoreau’s home, where Moore brings the character to life, embodying the enthusiasm and earnest nature of a man hoping to impart his knowledge to an audience. He provides a perfect representation of a man’s inner thoughts being spoken out loud, seamlessly transitioning between lectures and digressions into praising nature. Moore makes the entire experience feel like a seamless conversation, using his body and tone expertly to make it seem as if the audience is the one conversing with Thoreau himself.
Moore skillfully paints detailed pictures of nature, which I found myself effortlessly engaging with, often looking in the direction he was pointing without realizing, feeling as if his descriptions were coming to life. His earnest declarations and frantic motions helped to draw me into Thoreau’s world, allowing for the pleasure of the outside to be passed along to the audience.
Despite having such a simple set, Moore’s performance pushed through the boundaries of the stage, imagining and gesturing past the confines of the theater, creating a much larger world through the heartfelt delivery of the lines. While the set was geared towards representing Thoreau’s home, Moore did an excellent job of transitioning our minds into different spaces, using the set in different ways to impart a different message from Thoreau to the audience. The simple shifts in lighting also helped to signify any changes in locale. These shifts, coupled with the amazing and comforting sound design, breathed further life into the performance. The music and lighting was always fitting to the current mood of the play, and helped to enhance Moore’s delivery.
You could see how hard White and Moore worked on this performance, how much they cared about people enjoying it. They made an excellent team, and I feel that Moore did a fantastic job bringing White’s vision of the sublime into life in way that would make both Wagoner and Thoreau immensly proud.
Moore’s delivery was impeccable. I was watching a genuine person filled with infinite curiosity and excitement go through life. He was able to instill a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature in each and every word, inviting the audience to feel as strongly as he does. He spoke clearly and intently, the audience hanging on to each word as if it could be his last. He moved through and interacted with the crowd at ease, inviting them to see, feel, and experience everything that he did. No matter where Moore was in the theater, his words were clear and easily resonated with the audience. He brings us into his world, showing us how much our world matters.
The script itself is beautiful, and Moore’s words ring like poetry in the audience’s ears. This lyrical beauty, coupled with the masterful way he carries himself and conveys emotion with the movement of his body creates a transcendent experience of earnest indulgence within nature.
I found myself genuinely joying this performance, and felt that it was worth the time I spent there. Any fans of Thoreau will be happy to see Moore do such an excellent job bringing him to life in an approachable manner. Anyone who appreciates nature will find the play beautiful as a love note to our world. I left the show feeling inspired to plant a tree, touch the ground with my bare feet, appreciate what life has to offer, a feeling that I will not soon forget. It was an enlightening experience, opening my eyes to the world around me in numerous new ways. I highly recommend going to see this show if given the chance, it is well worth the affordable price of admission.
Thoreau at Home by David Wagoner. 18th & Union, 1406 18th Avenue Seattle,WA 98122. Thursday-Saturday 7:30 p.m. Jan 19-21, Sunday 4:00 p.m. January 22 , Streaming available through February 5, 2023.Tickets: https://v6.click4tix.com/events.php?domain=18U-THOREAU. Info: https://18thandunion.org/ or (206) 937-6499.
Some street parking. Take the #48 Bus or the Link down to Capitol Hill.