Mother Courage – Department of Theatre and Dance Presents “Art Walks”


Photo Courtesy of Dickinson College Department of Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Music, in collaboration with the Mermaid Players and the Dance Theatre Group, performed “Art Walks,” a play that took the cast and viewers around Dickinson campus throughout the events of the story. 

The theatrical element of “Art Walks” was a performance of “Mother Courage,” a 1939 play by Bertolt Brecht. The play was directed by Professor of Theatre Karen Lordi-Kirkham. The choreography was done by Associate Professor of Dance Sarah Skaggs, Visiting Instructor Erin Crawley-Woods and guest choreographer Emie Hughes ’13. 

The story follows Mother Courage, who is a traveling saleswoman during the Thirty Years’ War, as her life becomes harder due to the war. I thought the performance’s unique element — the traveling around campus — worked very well for the storytelling. The story began and finished at Britton Plaza, and the audience followed the events as they went in a circle to Morgan Hall, Allison, Weiss and Stern. It reflected the traveling that Mother Courage does for her work, and the way the cart was put together with the crew being able to ride it from place to place was amazing.

The cast of “Mother Courage” had very strong performances in my opinion. In particular, I thought that Olivia Pear ’25, who played the titular Mother Courage, and Bid McNulty ’23, who played Kattrin, were highlights of the event. I was especially impressed how McNulty was able to give such a strong performance without speaking, as the character they play is mute, with my favorite scene being the ending where Kattrin is hitting the drum to prevent a sneak attack on the nearby town Mother Courage is in. 

At different stops along the walk, dance performances preceded the next part of the play. The dance “Birdhouse,” done at the Birdhouse on Morgan Field, was specifically made for that place, while others like “Slay, Goddess Fire Queen” can be performed in different places. I thought the dances were impressive and served as great interludes during the story. 

“Art Walks” was performed three separate times, on Nov. 4, 5 and 6. The department’s next event will be “Carlisle Project,” a new piece being developed by Annalisa Dias and Ronne Penoi centered around the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. This will be in coordination with the Clarke Forum and CCLA, and a residency with the artists will be held in Feb. 2023. Their next performance will be “HawtPlates,” created by Justin Hicks and Kenita Miller-Hicks, which will be performed in March 2023.