Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins, and Nina Fonaroff in Punch and the Judy. Photograph by Barbara Morgan. Reproduced with permission of Janet Morgan/The Barbara Morgan Archive. For further information e-mail [email protected]
Performed to music by Robert McBride, Punch and the Judy premiered on August 10, 1941, at the Bennington College Theatre, Bennington, Vermont. The costumes were designed by Charlotte Trowbridge, the set by Arch Lauterer, and the text by Edward Gordon Craig. The original cast included Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins, and members of the Martha Graham Dance Company. During the summer of 1941, the name of Graham's ensemble changed to the Martha Graham Dance Company. The New York Times critic John Martin (December 29, 1941) said, "The performance is exemplary. Miss Graham is as adept a comedian and as great a master of timing as you are likely to find anywhere around, and the movement she has created for herself is convulsingly eloquent." Dance Observer (January 1942) noted that Graham "is past master of the incomplete gesture, the nuance which in its very indecision is comic."