The Dahl House

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The Dahl House was the August 2014 student mainstage production at The Hideout Theatre.



After opening to a choreographed dance, the players line up to the front of the stage at the summoning of the class' teacher (played by Valerie). The audience is addressed as observers from an English department of educational excellence (with an appropriately extensive Dahl-ian name) and asked for an initial letter. The players go down the line, adding letters to form an improvised word, then providing a definition word-at-a-time. The teacher then releases the students to playtime, kicking off the narrative.

The players then spin a Dahl-inspired narrative involving the word. After an intermission, the protagonist starts asleep on stage, and the players create a dream sequence through improvised dance, opening the second half to the protagonist waking up.

The full cast of eight players, modulo a few absences, played in each show.

Improv Stylings

The players translated elements of Dahl's distinctive narrative and linguistic style to stage. These elements include fantastical or magical abilities, invented words, and dark or dangerous world. The players also used extensive scene-painting and other direct-addressing of the audience to mirror the style of a written narrative that communicates directly through the prose standing between quotations.

The narrative followed a single (child) protagonist; no one else was guaranteed to survive. Villains, or the merely nasty, were often plentiful. Costume pieces helped differentiate characters; these were often brought in through explicit scene-painting simultaneously with an actual, physical endowment of clothing.

The opening and post-intermission dances had setpiece songs; the rest of the show had improvised scoring from a playlist. The narrative had improvised lights throughout.

Publicity Blurbs

From the show announcement:

"Improvised stories inspired by Roald Dahl. British children’s fantasy with a distinctly fizz-wizzing flair."

Long version from the show page:

This August, the Hideout brings you brand-new improvised plays inspired by childhood favorite Roald Dahl. The Dahl House takes the audience on an adventure through a world of brave children, horrid grown-ups, playful allies, and a marvelous array of animals, creatures, and thingamajigs. The world can be a scary and flamboozled place for the good-at-heart, but Roald Dahl has a wonderful way of showing us that goodness can prevail in the end, or at least stand up for itself.



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