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Cave Dogs presents "Ferrous City"

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NEW PALTZ -- Cave Dogs, an ensemble that mixes storytelling with shadows, improvisation and sound, will transform McKenna Theatre at SUNY New Paltz into the backdrop for a summertime road trip on Saturday, November 23, 2002, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. In "Ferrous City," audiences will experience the kaleidoscopic tour of one city family traveling through a dreamlike country landscape peopled with strange and humorous characters.

Cave Dogs' unique performance style brings together visual artists, musicians, dancers and writers who tell tales via shadows cast onto a scrim to create intriguing tableaux. Sculpture, costume and an original score enhance the imagery and through it, the ensemble explores socially significant themes. Critics have hailed their unusual performances as "magical" and "startlingly original."

Cave Dogs' production of "Ferrous City" centers on a hot summer day and a mother who decides to beat the heat by taking her children away from the sidewalks for a drive to grandmother's farm. Along the way, her family encounters various characters - the Fast Talking Man, Sam the Juggler - and a series of odd situations involving a wedding cake and a pack of hogs, all seen through the window of the family station wagon.

"Ferrous City" is a story about storytelling: it speaks to the act of creating oral histories and handing down legends. It is part documentary, part fiction and part fantasy. Through its synthesis of media, the show conjures both the dreamlike quality of early experimental film and the energetic humor of animation.

The production is suitable for audiences of all ages. To some, it will present a charming, surprising hodgepodge of imagery. Others will see larger messages. "Ferrous City" touches on car culture, everyday absurdities, and the extraordinary power of ordinary people.

Through its story, the performance group addresses the migration of families from rural to urban areas; the struggle to maintain family ties; the importance of strangers and friends in the development of a child; and what it means to be a mother in the twenty-first century.

Cave Dogs' artistic director, Suzanne Stokes, is a faculty member at SUNY New Paltz who directs the Foundation Program for first year art students. She conceived of the performance troupe in 1992. Since then, Cave Dogs has appeared in Boston at Mobius, the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston University and Massachusetts College of Art; as well as in New York at P.S. 122, Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Art Center, HERE, The Woodstock Comeau Property, Widow Jane Mine and SUNY New Paltz.

"Ferrous City" includes various members of the SUNY New Paltz community as well as area artists and others from across the country. They are: Jeanne Scheper, James Fossett, Trudy Trutwin, Wayne Montecalvo, Judith Muldoon, Laura Moriarty, Lydia K. Dolch, and Michael Crawley. Dean Jones created the soundtrack.

Cave Dogs is presented by the Student Art Alliance, a funded member of the Student Association. Tickets are available at the door, one hour before the performance: $8 for adults; $5 for senior citizens; free for SUNY New Paltz students with valid identification. For more information, call 845-257-3872.

Images are available online at

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