New York Theatre Workshop
New York Theatre Workshop

You Don't Know the Lonely One

by David Cale and Dael Orlandersmith
August 14, 2021

This event occurred as part of the 21/22 Theater Department season. This is an archived view.

A collaborative portrait of aloneness in an ever-shifting world.

21/22 Theater Department

By David Cale and Dael Orlandersmith
Lyrics by David Cale, Matthew Dean Marsh and Dael Orlandersmith
Music by David Cale and Matthew Dean Marsh
Musical underscoring composed by Matthew Dean Marsh
Performed by David Cale, Matthew Dean Marsh and Dael Orlandersmith
Directed by Robert Falls

Building off of their virtual residency with the Hop in August 2020, David Cale, Dael Orlandersmith and Matthew Dean Marsh return to Dartmouth joined by director Robert Falls with You Don't Know the Lonely One. This non-narrative, multidisciplinary work draws influence from paintings and albums to create a collaborative portrait of aloneness in an ever-shifting world. You Don't Know the Lonely One uses monologues, poems, stories and songs to explore what it means to be alone.

The performance will be immediately followed by a 20 minute Q&A session with the artists.

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Howard Gilman 1944 Directorship at the Hopkins Center for the Arts Fund, Carol and Robert Manegold '75 and Hop members.


Robert Falls directed David Cale and Matthew Dean Marsh's We're Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time in its premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago where it won the Jefferson Award for Outstanding New Musical. It was subsequently produced at the Public Theatre. Most recently, he directed the return engagement of his Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Don Giovanni, and The Winter's Tale for the Goodman. Other recent productions include Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, for which he also wrote the adaptation; the adaptation/direction of Roberto Bolaño's 2666, in collaboration with Seth Bockley (Jeff Award for Best Adaptation) and the Goodman production of The Iceman Cometh for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His many Broadway productions include Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio, Conor McPherson's Shining City and Horton Foote's Pulitzer Prize winning The Young Man from Atlanta. His long running Broadway production of Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA won four Tony Awards and has been subsequently produced around the world. Falls' honors include, among others, a Tony Award (Death of a Salesman), a Drama Desk Award (Long Day's Journey into Night), an Obie Award (subUrbia), a Helen Hayes Award (King Lear) and multiple Jeff Awards (including a 2012 Jeff Award for The Iceman Cometh). For "outstanding contributions to theater," Mr. Falls has been recognized with such prestigious honors as the Savva Morozov Diamond Award (Moscow Art Theatre) and the O'Neill Medallion (Eugene O'Neill Society). In 2015 he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Matthew Dean Marsh is a composer, performer and writer based in New York City. Marsh's collaboration with David Cale, We're Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time, recently made its debut at The Public and Goodman theaters, winning the Jeff Award for Best New Musical. He also worked as an associate musical director on Broadway's Beetlejuice while it was in development. Marsh has traveled the world as a vocalist, composer and musician. His compositions have sounded at Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, MassMOCA, The Goodman Theater in Chicago and the White House in Washington DC. His concept music video Lost Boys, by director Brian Crandall, won finalist awards in Los Angeles, Paris and Portland film contests. His film score for Linda Mill's short documentary Better to Live premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015. A fellow of the Sundance Institute, Drop Forge & Tool Residency, FGP In-House and the Johnny Mercer Songwriter's Project, Marsh has worked extensively with both undergrad and graduate performing arts students around the world, including New York University, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NYU Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and Cincinnati College of Music. 

David Cale is a performance artist, playwright, songwriter and actor. His most recent work is his solo musical memoir We're Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time, for which he wrote the book, lyrics, co-composed the music with Matthew Dean Marsh, and starred. The show premiered at The Goodman Theatre, Chicago and opened in New York City at The Public Theater, directed by Robert Falls. Other recent stage works include the solo play Harry Clarke, starring Billy Crudup (2018 Lucille Lortel Award). Solo works for which Cale was both the writer and performer include The History of Kisses, Palomino, Lillian (Obie Award), Deep in a Dream of You (Bessie Award), Smooch Music and The Redthroats (Bessie Award). He composed the songs for 600 Highwaymen's Employee of the Year, and for his collaboration with Dael Orlandersmith, The Blue Album. His recent acting credits include Stew and Heidi Rodewald's The Total Bent, Russian Doll on Netflix; and Paul Harrill's film, Light From Light. Cale's newest solo play, Sandra, with music by Matthew Dean Marsh, will premiere at the Vineyard Theatre, New York City, Spring 2022. 

Dael Orlandersmith is a playwright whose plays include Stoop Stories, Black n' Blue Boys/Broken Men, Horsedreams, Bones, The Blue Album, Yellowman, The Gimmick, Monster, and Forever. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Yellowman and the winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick. Dael is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim, along with several other awards and honors. Her play, FOREVER, was commissioned and performed at the Mark Taper Forum/Kirk Douglas Theatre  Fall of 2014. In 2020 Ms. Orlandersmith received the  Doris  Duke award.

For 40 years, New York Theatre Workshop has incubated the work of visionary artists and brought it to adventurous audiences through productions and educational programs. The long-standing summer residency hosted by the Dartmouth Department of Theater and the Hop has been a platform for workshopping plays from the forefront of the field. 

This summer marks the 30th year of this remarkable partnership as NYTW artists spend this August at Dartmouth. Over those three decades, dozens of works have been workshopped and developed at Dartmouth, including Rent, The Laramie Project, Quills, An Iliad and Hadestown; and participants have included Denis O'Hare, Sharon Washington, Doug Wright, Dael Orlandersmith, Anaïs Mitchell, Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Rachel Chavkin, Jeremy O. Harris, Martyna Majok and Ayad Akhtar.

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Photo by Brigid Pierce, courtesy of Pilobolus.
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