The World of Carl Sandburg

Commissioned by The National Park Foundation:

Performed at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in NC

Written by Carl Sandburg
Adapted & Directed – Teddy Eck

"Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen" - Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg, nationally renowned poet, biographer, lecturer, newspaper columnist, folksinger, author of American fairytales, and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, spent his last 22 years at his estate, Connemara in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

I was commissioned to direct a collection of his verse and prose to be played on an outdoor stage on the very land that inspired such beautiful words. It was no easy task. I researched and read through his expansive body of work, over 200 works of poetry alone, to find the 25 that would be used in our piece.

Carl Sandburg wrote about everything from: lessons about war, parents wishes for their new born children, to a hand discussing the importance and differences of all of it’s fingers. Carl wrote about the future, the past and the impossible, all with a feel of the “Everyman”.

With six actors we used two blocks, a white sheet and a handful of music instruments to create the very imaginative and expansive world that Sandburg described. To capture the essence and themes of Sandburg’s writings I used several creative dramatic exorcises with the actors. We dissected each poem and explored the words and sounds creating it. We found various ways the actors could tell the stories using their bodies and only a few select props. I also added a few specific musical instruments to aid the actors in creating the different environments.

Together we created a fun, exciting and evolving piece of theater for the visiting children and adults that came to view and experience Carl Sandburg's wonderful estate.