CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "The actors are without masks, costumes or special makeup, and you actually believe they are the dogs."
That's how Nina Denton Pasinetti described the Barter Players production of "Call of the Wild."
The classic Jack London tale has been condensed into an hour-long play that will be performed June 18 as part of FestivALL.
The Abington, Va.-based theater troupe will put on two shows -- at 5 and 7 p.m. -- in the Clay Center Walker Theater.
Pasinetti is the longtime artistic director of Charleston Light Opera Guild and represents theater and dance on the FestivALL steering committee.
She acknowledged that she hadn't seen "Call of the Wild," but she said the tour coordinator for the Barter Players told her it was the best thing the traveling troupe has ever done.
Pasinetti said she had tried before to connect FestivALL and the Barter Theater, which is the state theater of Virginia. "The Barter reputation precedes them," she said, listing names of now famous actors who once performed with the Barter: Kevin Spacey, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, Hume Cronyn, Ned Beatty.
The history of the Barter dates from the Great Depression. A struggling New York actor couldn't find work, so he returned home to southwest Virginia in 1933. Robert Porterfield persuaded some friends to come with him, and they put on plays in exchange for food.