Call of the Wild

A World Premiere

By Charlie Bethel - The Jack London Festival

Published in 1903 and set in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, Jack London’s most famous adventure/allegory is brought vividly to life by nationally-renowned solo performance artist Charlie Bethel.

Buck the big dog gets kidnapped and sold to people in a cold country who only want his muscle and his suffering. Then he hears the howling wolves.  What would you do?

Jack London’s “Call of the Wild” stands tall as an American metaphor for what we will never be, and what we could be, and what we will be. Buck, the hundred and forty pound dog, gets, quite literally, sold up the river from an idyllic dog’s life in sunny California into a cold, dark, Alaskan slavery, is beaten, overworked, starved and neglected, until  in a narrow escape from an icy death, a woodsman takes him in, granting him healing and freedom and friendship. But Buck hears the sounds of wolves in the snow and, drawn to them by unseen forces, follows the call. He leaves death and suffering behind and embraces the romantic and beautiful uncertainty of his freedom, with only the starlight and the aurora as his witness.

Author/Performer Bethel writes: “We are all Buck the dog, and we all long for the call of the wild, and may we all find our way through the cold dark that surrounds us, like Buck.”

Running time: approximately 90 minutes.


Charlie Bethel is an actor/writer based in Minneapolis.  He wrote his one-man "Beowulf" in Chicago in the 90’s. After about 7 years rehearsing, the show premiered at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis in October of 2001. Since then it has played various venues: Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences (Charleston, WV), Raven Theater (Chicago), Cincinnati Playhouse, and a couple of Fringe Festivals, and Joseph Campbell’s Centenary Celebration at the Esalen Institute (Big Sur, CA). Charlie also has toured nationally performing his one-man adaptation of Homer’s “The Odyssey”.  A native Southerner, Charlie is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, the South Carolina Governor’s School, and he comes from a long line of talkers.


Studio Theatre

Sep 10 - Sep 25, 2016