Magic Milk, now playing at the Grange near you (if you live in Anderson Valley) probes deep in many ways. Billed as A Silent Musical it presents more like a voiceless opera with an original score that tightly weaves emotion, energy, calm and cadence into the action taking place before your eyes. And together, sight and sound offer a welcomed respite for a couple hours from all things digital.
While definitely addressing the existential human psyche and the “doors of perception”, Magic Milk also provides a respite from the dominate worries of the day - politics, climate and covid. It’s a fairytale that offers, can you believe it, a cow as the protagonist. Or do I have that wrong - is it the cat? Sound silly? Maybe but it has so much intertwined metaphor that it will keep you thinking while you’re having fun. No owls but a hoot. Think nursery rhyme. Personally I was left mentally visiting Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, even “Rub-A-Dub-Dub”. When you get your program read it before the play starts - something I didn’t do - just seeing the stage names of the actors will help you early on catch on a bit.
Magic Milk is brought to us by a very talented mix of Anderson Valley people and though it often seems that the word passion has been expropriated by those Valley folk making “fine wine” (?) I did hear several times by audience and actors and crew themselves of the passion involved in bringing Anderson Valley this fine entertainment.
Cob Martin wrote and directed, Daniel McDonnell composed the music. Performers include Jaineed Boonyagarn, Ryan Davis, Dan McDonald, Sophia Bates, Mira Bouch, Leela Nasser-Gammett, Sierra Peters, Doug Read, Bernadette Restuccia, Derek Roseboom and Charlene Rowland. And then, of course, a whole passel of production hands and minds required for any undertaking as well-staged as this one.
Magic Milk’s last two performances will be Friday, November 11 and Saturday November 12 - door at 6, play at 7. Friday the 11th will be a mask required performance to accommodate those who might feel otherwise compromised.
As an after thought, I did want to mention that on opening night an elderly woman passed by me with the exclamation “charming” and I wondered if she meant “pleasant”, “spellbinding” - maybe both. And I also teased with the idea of nicknaming that stretch of Highway 128 that passes the Philo Grange, Anderson Valley’s “Broadway”. A recognition of the quality that certainly often happens there.
PSPS - Full disclosure - I’ve been bought a bit, kinda. But I do try to write the truth as I see it.
Straight from the underlying heart of Dolly Parton:”Things aren’t always what they appear.”
Communal passion is compassion.
Communal fusion is sometimes confusion.
1 plus 1 = 3. Hmmm? It’s in the play.
Do you believe in magic?
How about Magic Milk? Why not!