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The Shoulder
(1995)
the shoulder

In 1994, a 73-year-old Iowa man failed his eye exam and was unable to renew his drivers license. But that didn’t discourage him from visiting his older brother in Wisconsin, who had suffered a stroke. Afraid of flying and unwilling to be driven, he embarked on an epic journey across the state of Iowa. On July 5, 1994 he packed a ten foot long trailer with camping supplies, extra clothes and gasoline, and hitched it to the back of his second-hand 1966 John Deere riding lawn mower. Achieving a top speed of 5mph, he proceeded to drive all 250 miles across the top of the state of Iowa on his lawn mower, and arrived at his brother’s farm fifty-one days later. The Shoulder is a chamber opera with music by Dan Moses Schreier, and visual design inspired by regionalist painter Grant Wood. The role of the farmer is sung simultaneously by a 60 year-old baritone and a 20 year old tenor highlighting the issues of ageing, youthful spirit, and the passage of time that are inherent to the story. Hurlin plays the state of Iowa.

Performed by Don Chastain, Dan Hurlin, Doug Marcks
Music composed by Dan Moses Schreier
Music direction and performance by Alan Johnson
Set design by Dan Hurlin
Lights by Tyler Micoleau
Premiered at Dance Theater Workshop, NYC
Toured nationally
AWARD: American Theater Wing Design Nomination

Photo Credits:
Top: Tyler Micoleau
Above: David Van Allen
Right: Tyler Micoleau