Visit The Golden Toad microsite

Written by Ellen Maddow and Paul Zimet
Composed by Ellen Maddow and Elizabeth Swados
Directed by Paul Zimet
Puppet Design by Eric Wright and The Puppet Kitchen
Set Design by Anna Kiraly
Costume Design by Kiki Smith
Lighting Design by Lenore Doxsee

Episode 1 features: Harlan J. Alford, Helen Gutowski, John Kurzynowski, Ellen Maddow, Nicolas Noreña, and Tina Shepard. Also, musician Michael Evans (percussion), and Maria Kovacevic (violin)

This season Talking Band is trying something new. For the past several years the company has been creating and producing two new works a year. This year we’ve decided to develop a new work over the course of this whole season and part of the next.

The new work is called The Golden Toad and it will be in four episodes. The play follows the same group of characters over time and shifting circumstances. The episodes add on to each other like overlays of transparencies: with each new layer our earlier understanding of whom a character is shifts dramatically.

Throughout the year Talking Band will be presenting each episode as a site-specific work-in-progress. The locations provide another layer to the theme of fluid identity. The first episode takes place in the garden of an old townhouse on a small tree-lined street in downtown Brooklyn surrounded by glass office towers, condominiums and construction sites: it is a small sliver of an older Brooklyn on the verge of erasure. The second episode takes place on a bus tour of the New Jersey Meadowlands. The guide points out sites that no longer exist, or exist only in traces. One must imagine what was once there. Episode Three is in pop-up thrift clothing store. It is ephemeral, a place with no solid existence. The last episode in the Golden Toad Karaoke bar is a crossroad, a place where all the characters lives finally intersect. As the name suggests, it is a place of transformation and revelation. What seems ordinary or even repulsive may show itself to be resplendent, and conversely a gilded surface may reveal a toad lurking beneath.

During this year, the same audience and artists will travel through the play together, and this journey will culminate with a run of all four episodes in December, 2014 at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater. For the La MaMa production, Anna Kiraly will design sets in different areas of the theater that both re-create and re-imagine the original locales. Puppet maker Eric Wright will be creating life-sized puppets for The Golden Toad, and long-time collaborators Kiki Smith (costumes) and Lenore Doxsee (lights) will be completing this extraordinary design team.

We are also delighted that we will be re-united with Elizabeth Swados who will be composing music for The Golden Toad. Nearly forty-years ago, early in her distinguished composing career, Liz wrote the music for Talking Band’s first production, The Kalevala.

Keep tuned to our website for videos, photos and updates on each episode as this grand adventure unfolds.