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Terry Tarnoff


SAN FRANCISCO (August 5, 2004) – Encore Theatre Company presents the World Premiere production of Terry Tarnoff’s THE BONE MAN OF BENARES, a one-man show adapted from the memoir of the same name. This extraordinary autobiographical saga chronicles an eight-year journey taken by harmonica-playing Terry Tarnoff to Western Europe, Africa, India, Nepal, and Bali. In a time of change, unrest, and war, Tarnoff drops out of modern society and embarks on a Conradian journey into the heart of darkness with nothing but a wanderlust that uncovers treasures of the mind, body, and spirit along the way. Magic Theatre literary manager Mark Routhier will direct and Ron Campbell (R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER) stars.


“A theatrical travelogue that takes the viewer through some strange and unsettling experiences. Tarnoff’s tales of life on the road are well observed and cleverly told… Ron Campbell is such a mesmerizing performer — as welcoming and personable as he is infectiously comic and astonishingly versatile — that he can lead an audience just about anywhere… The Encore Theatre Company world premiere is a general delight.”
– San Francisco Chronicle

“The stage adaptation of Terry Tarnoff’s semi-fictionalized novel – based on his globe-trotting adventures in East and South Asia, Africa, and Europe between 1971 and 1974 – becomes the latest in a series of travelogues to appear on Bay Area stages recently. In Encore Theater Company’s world premiere, it’s one of the more theatrical too, graced with an elegantly spare but dynamic set and lighting design (by James Faerron and Christopher Studley, respectively, with video work by Jeff Diehl), an involving, atmospheric score by David Molina, and most of all, actor Ron Campbell in the role of Tarnoff’s narrator-alter ego. Handily directed by Mark Routhier, it’s also a time trip back to the early ’70s, whose chaotic and vaguely sinister vibe resonates all too powerfully today. But it’s Campbell’s happy-go-lucky wanderer, oblivious at first to the skeletons in his knapsack, who makes it all immediately credible. The veteran solo performer’s physical fluency and range of expression capture the emotional and psychic extremes central to Tarnoff’s narrative – at least as great as the cultural and geographic ones – with a flair that doesn’t slacken for a moment.”

– San Francisco Bay Guardian

The Bone Man of Benares, based on the novel by Terry Tarnoff (who also penned the play), has come to life with stellar performer Ron Campbell and the Encore Theatre Company. Campbell acts out a trip around the world that takes the audience from Laos, with 99 percent humidity during poppy season, to Mumbai, with a wind-chill factor of 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Along the way, the protagonist falls in love with a Swede named Anika, battles with heroin addiction and tries to outsmart thousands of ants in Africa, all in the name of finding himself. Tarnoff’s tales wax philosophical, and you’re left thinking about nature, time and what it means to just be in the moment when you’re on the road.”
– SF Gate

“The charm of The Bone Man of Benares is Ron Campbell’s great talent for shape-shifting. He plays not just Terry, but also every character Terry meets, with a magnetic intensity… Christopher Studley’s lights also help with mood-setting; they evoke everything from putrid cremation smoke to a swinging overhead fan… An aromatic…entertaining, traveler’s tale.”
– SF Weekly

“With astonishing energy and near-perfect physical comedy capabilities, Campbell can make you think he’s laboring under the weight of a bulky (and invisible) backpack or getting tangled in a telephone cord that you’d swear was really there… an incredibly dynamic performance… director Mark Routhier gives the 80-minute show texture with David Molina’s evocative sound design, Christopher Studley’s lights… and fantastic video projections by Jeff Diehl.”

– Oakland Tribune

“Campbell gives full measure to each character he meets, whether it’s a waiter, a driver, a lover or a jaded expat. All have something to teach and he’s hungry to learn… Director Mark Routhier’s impressive sound and light designs keep us on the right road but it is Campbell who makes us captive on his ‘heart of darkness’ trip… he grabs us up and takes us along on the writer’s drug-and-love-fueled trip.”

– Pacific Sun

“Bay Area novelist Terry Tarnoff conjured a funny, hallucinatory semi-fantasia by adapting his book The Bone Man of Benares for Encore Theatre Company… Ron Campbell, a veritable repository of human and non-human characters, is a delight as the intrepid wanderer… under Mark Routhier’s imaginative direction.”




Starring…… Ron Campbell
Written by…… Terry Tarnoff
Directed by…… Mark Routhier
Produced by…… Lisa Steindler
Produced by…… James Faerron
Dramaturge…… Jandy Nelson
Stage Manager…… Chris Rader
Set Designer…… James Faerron
Lighting Designer…… Chris Studley
Sound Designer…… David Molina
Costume Designer…… Cindy Rae
Video Projections…… Jeff Diehl
Production Assistant…… Zac Jaffe
Sound Operator…… Mildred De La Rosa
Lighting Operator…… Dorian De Rijk
Dialect Coach…… Lynne Soffer
Scenic Painter…… Heike Seefeldt
Company Manager…… Reynaldi Lolong
Publicity…… Shawn Ferreyra
Video Editor…… Jody Banks
Video Transfer…… Nels Johnson