Category Archives: Dreams

I have such an urge to direct again…

… and what I really am eager to do is a production of the 1953 musical “Kismet“, whose music was adapted from classical work of Borodin.

The wonderful Arabian Nights story of 16th Century Baghdad about a fortune teller, a Wazir, a young Caliph and two very lovely women is something I have loved most of my life.

Many of it’s musical numbers became song classics. “Baubles, Bangles and Beads“, “Stranger in Paradise” and this:


“This is My Beloved.”

The show was a starring vehicle for Alfred Drake and the Broadway debut of Richard Kiley.

Unfortunately, my current physical condition makes it seem like I will never be able to direct again. If the tumor is removed it will probably endanger the part of my brain where cognitive creativity is connected. If we don’t solve the problem and I keep having seizures I will never be able to drive again and won’t be able to put in the solid effort that coordinating a musical production, especially a large and complex one as this, would be very difficult. It could certainly, however, make West Virginia community theatre history.

And then I have to find one of the local community playhouses who might let me do it… find 20 great performers … get a nice piano score for my dear collaborator Ruth Robertas to play from… and find a local choreographer who can bring the dancing girls to life.

If I get through this surgery and all that accompanies it, it will take at least a year before I can even get started (apart from notes I am doing now) putting it together. One can hope. It gives me something to focus on.

 

Thinking about flying!

Sitting around the house now that I’m not allowed to drive due to my seizures, I’ve been thinking about my life and trying to figure out what I’ll do now. I don’t know why, but I started thinking about my father and the airplanes he had when I was a kid. The first plane he owned and the second, too, as a matter of fact, werea 1946 Stinson 180’s.

1946 Stinson Voyager 180

My mother was scared to death of airplanes and eventually my dad got rid of the first one. I was really sad, since I loved to go flying with him.

Eventually he bought the second Stinson and it was not one he kept for a long time…primarily because he had to make a forced landing on a farm in northeast Connecticut while flying back from Cape Cod. My mother, my sister and I drove back… and when we got home we got the phone call. When he made the forced landing it was downhill and the propeller ended up twisting barbed wire around itself from the fence it rolled into.

Needless to say, this was enough to make my Mother totally certain that she’d make him sell the plane… and she did.

I was 12 or 13 during our couple of flying years and I remember buzzing over Connecticut small towns, flying near the shoreline and then bringing it to the little airport in Plainville. Every kid should have a flying experience!

Cartoon(s) of the Week – As Romney gets closer to the debates…

Tony Auth of Newsworks.org:

Romney plans health care for the 47%…

- and -

Rob Rogers in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette:

Is Romney sure he wants to cut off about half the contributors?

- and -

Kevin Siers in the Charlotte Observer:

Isn’t Romney the king of mixed messages?

- and -

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

At least he has Ryan to depend on…

- and -

 

David Horsey in the L.A. Times:

Now if he could avoid the bad dreams…

 

My thanks to all of you who responded to my personal notice yesterday…

 

I can’t tell you how much your sympathy and suggestions meant to me. Just getting through this part of my life is so difficult. This poor old fatman (22 pounds down on my diet in the second month) has to come to some kind of way of extending his purpose.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to direct theatre again… can’t get to rehearsals and can’t find a theatre group that might want to do one of my experimental pieces. That is pretty depressing, too, having been creating such events since 1967.

Oh well… lots of blog writing to do what with a big election coming up (that’s how this blog started years ago)…at least that exercises my mind.

 

My brain is exploding… put yourself in the (not so distant) future…

As you read this over the internet you realize that you have replaced what we used to exchange in print… or even, for Pete’s sake, by voice over the phone or while having coffee… with interactions by computer on our own time and only when we really want it. And it seems live and it can be interacted with in an eternal present.

But what comes next? What are the situations we can’t even imagine that will be our communication norm in less than a generation… that will make Facebook seem like the telegraph?

English: New York City high school students in...

I just spent an hour and a half listening to a replay of a forum at the World Science Festival called Internet Everywhere. If you remember when we didn’t spend our time with a computer and a mouse or a touchpad and our finger bringing our minds together over the internet… not very long ago… then remember how we didn’t even begin to imagine where we are today.

You’ve got to watch/listen to this:

http://worldsciencefestival.com/webcasts/internet_everywhere.

OK?

You can thank me later.

Maurice Sendak dies at 83…

Anyone who has had children in the last few decades knows who Maurice Sendak was. The amazing children’s author and illustrator published the kind of kids books that did so much more than just tell stories… they stimulated the imagination and bonded parents to kids as they read together.

From “Where the Wild Things Are” to “In the Night Kitchen“(controversial in 1973 for illustrations of a naked hero-child), which was my favorite…and I think Buddy’s, too, Sendak was rewarded often… the Caldecott Medal and the National Book Award were just two of his honors.

He was an advisor to The Children’s television Workshop and worked on a number of television adaptations of his books.

As Al Roker said on the Today show this morning:

“A bit of our childhood has passed.”

Sleeping with my iPhone…

I saw a statistic that said 65% of cell phone users sleep with their phones.

Well, I’m one of them. My iPhone is next to me when I go to bed. Why? Because I like to play a podcast while I go to sleep… it only takes about 15 minutes and then the podcast turns itself off when it is over.

My favorite sleepy-time podcasts? Greg Proops‘ “Smartest Man in the World” is number one. Harry Shearer‘s “Le Show” is a close second, followed by “This American Life.” Lately, I’ve also been playing Jack Benny shows from the 30s and 40s.

I don’t know why others sleep with their cell phones… I certainly don’t expect calls overnight. If my secret of how to get to sleep with your iPhone helps anyone, then I am truly glad.

The Flipper is trying to get back in the good regard of Latinos…

… but he may have moved so far to the right that his move to center is not believeable. Take it’s position on Immigration and the Dream Act.

From the NY Times:

The Flipper - Flopped

The Romney campaign appears to have begun shifting to the center on immigration, after staking out a position to the right of opponents like former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.

During the primary fight, Mr. Romney said he would veto the existing version of the Dream Act, or the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, which would grant illegal immigrants brought into the country as children by their parents a pathway to citizenship. He labeled it a magnet for illegal immigration. And he criticized Mr. Perry for granting young illegal immigrants in-state tuition to Texas universities.

On Thursday, campaign aides said Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was not referring to the most draconian portions of Arizona’s immigration law when he said during a debate that Arizona could be a model for the nation. He was referring specifically to the “E-Verify” measure that requires employers to check the legal status of job applicants electronically.

Romney is looking at getting illegal immigrants to voluntarily leave the country, too. He’s a real pal to folks who are both a large work force and a growing voting block.

 

 

 

Newt to NRA: Right to Bear Arms is a Human Right

Here’s why Newt isn’t going to get any farther (from the Newt Gingrich 2012 campaign site):

Appearing before the National Rifle Association annual meeting this afternoon, Newt Gingrich called for a new United Nations treaty that would give the right to bear arms to every person on the planet.  This proposed treaty would counter the United Nations Small Arms Treaty currently supported by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After Gingrich’s speech concluded, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox came out on stage and said “The Gingrich Treaty…I like that.”

The Daily Beast noted that Newt’s reception from the crowd of 5,000 people was more enthusiastic than Governor Romney’s.

Somewhere along the line, folks are going to imagine a Newt Presidency and see themselves dead in their living rooms. Just think if every man, woman and child worldwide were armed!

Give a thought to what it would do to our legal system (of course, given the current Supreme Court, it might not make any difference.)

Bang bang Maxwell’s silver hammer…etc.

Why should average guys and girls avoid Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the Republican controlled legislature has introduced bills that discriminate against homosexuals, a bill that allows the teaching of creationism in science class (which has since become law), and bills that restrict abortion.

That, however, was not enough. Republicans are now going even further by introducing language in a sex education bill that would define kissing and holding hands as the gateways to sexual activity (the bill also says sex education teachers cannot discuss contraception.)

According to WMC-TV:

“Tennessee senators approved an update to the state’s abstinence-based sex education law that includes warnings against ‘gateway sexual activity.’ In a new family life instructions bill, holding hands and kissing could be considered gateways to sex.”

When the Beatles sing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” they will be proposing illegal activity. When the Crystals sing “Then He Kissed Me” they are really singing “He initiated Sexual Activity.

What on earth is wrong with these people… didn’t they learn ANYTHING from the Scopes Trial?

What do you learn from Lunacy?

Exerpts from “The Case for Crazy: What the GOP Would Learn by Picking Rick Santorum

by John Avlon in the Daily Beast

A cleansing bout of craziness in 2012 could be just what the GOP needs.

I’m talking about a nominee so far to the right that conservative populists get their fondest wish—and the Republican Party is forced to learn from the result.  Namely, that there is such a thing as too extreme.

If Mitt Romney does finally wrestle the nomination to the ground, and then loses to Obama, conservatives will blame the loss on his alleged moderation. The right wing take-away will be to try and nominate a true ideologue in 2016.

But if someone like Rick Santorum gets the nomination in an upset, the party faithful will get to experience the adrenalin rush of going off a cliff together, like Thelma and Louise—elation followed by an electoral thud.

Giving conservative activists everything they want in a presidential nominee would ultimately be clarifying for the Republican Party. It would break the fever that has afflicted American politics turning fellow citizens against one another. It would restore a sense of balance, recognizing that it is unwise to systemically ignore the 40% of American voters who identify themselves as independent or the 35% who are centrist. After all, a successful political party requires both wings to fly.

There’s nothing like losing 40 states to refocus the mind.

Education is a marvelous thing. Education by Experience can be devastating.

Someday I’d like to go to the TED Conference…

… but as things look now, both economically and physically, I’ll probably never get the chance.

For those not familiar with TED, here is their statement:

WHAT IS TED?

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. The format is fast paced: 50+ talks over the course of four days (to say nothing of the morning and evening events). This immersive environment allows attendees and speakers from vastly different fields to cross-fertilize and draw inspiration from unlikely places. This is the magic of TED.

THREE CONFERENCES EACH YEAR AND TED LIVE

TED holds three yearly conferences: TED at Long Beach, California, TEDActive at Palm Springs, California (which runs concurrently with TED at Long Beach) and TEDGlobal in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Attending a TED conference is by application. There are several levels of conference membership, and attendance fees depend on which level and conference you choose. Become a TED Live member to watch both TED and TEDGlobal live in your home, school, or office.

Thankfully, the TED folks post the best lectures on YouTube and I get to enjoy them at no charge and get something important to think about.

For instance, from the recent conference in Long Beach, CA, is this talk by Adam Savage showing how great ideas come from very simple sources:

To find out more about TED, go to http://www.ted.comand be sure to take in some of the videos. You’ll find talks in many areas:

  • technology
  • entertainment
  • design
  • business
  • science
  • global issues

World’s Best Graffiti III – Art in the Street

Here’s a few more for Leap Day:

Have a nice day!

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours…

Time to get out there with your Sweetie and have a great day and a delightful evening. A great day to stop thinking about politics and corruption and such (although I’m sure I won’t) and just enjoy yourselves.

Great Responsibilities tonight at Shepherdstown Film Society…

Elly and I volunteered to turn out the houselights and do the head count at Shepherdstown Film Society tonight at 7:00 (Reynolds Hall at Shepherd U. – FREE). The film is Atlantic City with Burt Lancaster,,,one I haven’t seen in a couple of decades.

That means we can’t go to the opening of Sweeney Todd, also at Shepherd U. We’ll have to go on second night tomorrow.

_____

We finished the official inspection of our new house this afternoon… also got a quote on the deck we’re building in the back… now we have to wait for the bank and the lawyer to engineer the closing. After that we’ll get Dave, our fix-up guy, to put in a couple of days correcting the faults found in the inspection.

I’ll also have to pick up two rolls of welded wore fencing and the steel stakes to put in the dog fence for Nestle and Byron.

___

Radio show on WSHC (89.7 in Shepherdstown, http://www.897WSHC.org around the world. 11:AM to 1:PM.

In house buying, the hardest part is the waiting…

Elly and I have been hunting for a retirement property for almost a year. At least once before we thought we had it, then something fell through with the deal and we were out looking again.

Last week we put in 3 offers on the same property (we went down, they said no, we went up. they went down-but not enough, we went up to our limit, they accepted our letter of capacity (that shows we have credit and can afford the purchase.)

Now we are just waiting to hear that they have reviewed the letter and we have the property. This is a foreclosure and we are dealing with the company that owned the mortgage, but, unfortunately, they are in Texas… 2 hours behind us. We have been hoping to hear from them all day, but so far our real estate agent hasn’t called with the good news.

This is our chance to own a little “farmette” (as Elly calls it) where we (read “she”) can garden, raise chickens and a couple of goats and have plenty of room for our dogs. The House is not the passive one we wanted to build, but, if we get it, we are going to seal it up some more and look into solar power. Also, with the 4.5 acres, we may have room to subdivide, build our passive house on 2 acres of the lot and sell off the existing house and 2.5 acres that are left. There are all kinds of possibilities.

We just have to get it. Here at 65 I feel like a young man getting started again. Let’s see how long I hold out.

Now we just need the phone call.

Martin Luther King Day – a National Day of Service.

Had he lived, MLK would have been 83 this year. In his memory, we have today as a holiday and hope not to celebrate our day off, but to perform a service to the country… a kind of holiday that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

Elly is in her fifth year or so of producing the Martin Luther King Day program over at Hagerstown Community College… a program that has speakers (this year Ambassador Daouda Diabate from the Ivory Coast) and creates graphic design posters using King’s quotations.

I hope everyone has a good day.

Are you ever too old to be creative?

Although it is Friday the thirteenth, this may be an unusually lucky day for me. I’m sitting over in Mellow Moods with John Case (post our 7:30 – 9:00 AM radio show on WSHC) where we are meeting on a proposed revision of Clifford OdetsWaiting for Leftywhich we are framing

CraftWorks

inside the Occupy Movement. With music, yet.

Later this morning I have an appointment at CraftWorks over in Charles Town WV where they are looking for a part-time guy with arts administration experience (like me) who’s willing to be paid for ten hours at a low rate but actually work for twenty or thirty. A retired guys’ dream. I hope I do well at the interview… had a good conversation with their Director yesterday.

A Lubalin Masterpiece

I started getting interested in doing some type-oriented graphic design work, something I haven’t really done since the U-Design years in Hartford. One way to get inspired for that is to ramble through the works of my favorite graphic designer, Herb Lubalin. He’s been dead for three decades now (he died on MY BIRTHDAY, May 24), but many of his designs and logos are still being used and much of his work will live forever.rpiece

Bradley Sanders

I get such a thrill out of seeing what Lubalin did with type (he’s one of the reasons I started designing typefaces in the 80s… Avant Garde kicked me over the edge when I saw what letters could do when they interact.)  I’m going to work on a couple of experimental pieces… one supporting my Saturday show on WSHC… then see if any of the local non-profits are willing to giver me a try.

I saw Bradley Sanders of the Folly when John and I came into the Mood earlier and told him I’d like to learn how to weld. I have some ideas for metal sculpture that I’d like to carry out and Bradley was encouraging. One more thing to keep from the boredom of retirement.


So at 65 I’m getting ready to move ahead.

Since I’ll most likely fall asleep before midnight…

…let me wish everyone a Happy New Year now. I’m looking forward to doing so many things in the coming year to burst out of depression and get back to the kind of creativity I’ve missed in 2011. Hope you get to do everything you want as well.

1984: Zappa lectures at the Palace of Fine Art in San Francisco

From YouTube:
Frank talks about his upcoming release, his opinion on the synclavier and how he uses it to compose music . He talks with Charles Amirkhanian about his music and there is a small read done by Calvin the editor of the Pink Section of the San Francisco Chronicle about a small puppet show play written by Frank called “Fransesco” from 39.03 mins.

Enjoy that? Here’s today’s Music Piece:

From the album Francesco Zappa here’s Frank on the Synclavier doing Opus 1, No.4, 2Nd Movement Allegro:

I started thinking about Old Greenbelt, MD, this morning…

Greenbelt  Theater

… where we lived when we first came down to the mid-Atlantic area because I was then working for CSC. While the row townhouses in Old Greenbelt are not terrifically stylish, they are small and comfy and we really enjoyed living there. You are within walking distance to stores and movies and community theatre, and it’s a short drive to large supermarkets, malls and the DC subway.

We sold our townhouse when we went to Hagerstown and then to Shepherdstown.

This morning I woke up missing being in Old Greenbelt. Turns out that Elly misses being there to, so, tentatively, we are putting it on our househunting/retirement list and will be exploring the possibility.


Who knows?

Please… your help is needed to keep Under The LobsterScope going…

…. and I’m repeating my request for support (for which you will receive a FREE FONT!)

Since a lot of you are bloggers like me (and graphic designers/desktop publishers as well), I’d like to offer one of my original picture fonts, Bill’s Modern Diner, for the last decade one of the most popular.

I sell this font, for both Mac and PC, for $29.00. I will, however, send you a complete copy with keychart and both Mac and PC versions, for any donation to Under The LobsterScope of $5.00 or more.

Here’s a font sample:

This is a font I use for menus and food articles and I’ve had occasion to use it just about every week since I created it.

So if you sign on to see Cartoon(s) of the Week, or Quotes, or views on Theatre and the Arts or any of the Political stuff presented on UTL, your contributions make all of these possible. I need to raise $300.00 by January 1 to make my goal.

If you feel you can support this blog,Please send a donation of $5.00 or more (more is better ) via PayPal:

Thanks for considering this…

- Bill

Zappadan is only 4 days away!

Zappadan

Zappadan

December 4 – 21
@zappadan
Once again we’ll be celebrating the life and talent of Frank Zappa during Zappadan with videos, articles letters, etc.
All you Frank Zappa fans out there please come on by during the 18 days of Zappadan.

“Ghost-Writer”… a play by Michael Hollinger

Contemporary American Theater Festival

Last night we went to the second of CATF‘s Tuesday night staged readings. This one was the utterly amazing “Ghost-Writer” by Michael Hollinger,  directed by Ed Herendeen with a cast of three: John Lescault, Julianna Zinkel (currently appearing in “From Prague“) and Tamara Tunie (from the cast of “We Are Here”).

You may think a staged reading, where there is no activity within a set, where the performers read directly from the script while sitting in chairs in a line and where the Stage Manager reads the stage directions) would be less exciting to attend than one of the fully prepared productions. You would, however, be wrong. Back in my College days at Northwestern University you could get a degree in the subject “Oral Interpretation of Literature”… right up to a PhD. That department performed many staged readings, many of which were done before paid audiences where they frequently sold out. Such a performance requires a special set of skills by actors to create characters and perform acts which you see in your imagination. When done well, as this one was, it is a delight.

Hollinger, a 49 year old playwright and former violinist from Pennsylvania, has created a mysterious and imaginative work here which kept the audience mesmerized throughout.

In a summary from the play’s premiere at Pennsylvania’s Arden Theatre Company, Ghost-Writer was summed up as follows:

It’s 1919, and novelist Franklin Woolsey has died, dictating his latest novel to his devoted secretary, Myra. But she continues to type anyway, claiming she’s still receiving dictation, and dutifully sends each chapter to the publisher under her late employer’s name. (Woolsey’s widow – who hasn’t heard a word from her husband – is understandably vexed.) Is Myra channeling the dead author? Is she merely an artful forger? Where did the words used to come from, and where do they come from now? A tale of inspiration, expiration, and vicarious love.


That shouldn’t give away the mysteries of the plot (in case you should see another production of the play, which I hope you can), but gives a good idea of its environment. The cast did a superb job… especially Ms. Zinkel, whom I have invited to be interviewed on the Friday Morning Winner’s And Losers show on WSHC with John Case and me. I hope she can make it.

There is one more staged reading, next week at the Opera House, of a new play by “From Prague”‘s author, Kyle Bradstreet. That’s Tuesday night, the 26th, at 7:00 PM. And did I say these readings are FREE? They are, so come early to get a good seat… the house was full last night.

CATF’s 21st Season… an Overview

We often think of 21 as the age of adulthood, and this year the Contemporary American Theater Festival has turned 21.  In the years since it was conceived and brought into the world by Ed Herendeen, under the auspices of Shepherd University, the CATF has not only brought new plays, professional actors and visionary directors to Shepherdstown, it has given our small community an international focus in the Theater World.

CATF has brought us world premieres, commissioned works and plays by both the famous and the unknown.  Very few, if any, have ever let us down… and this season is no exception.

This year’s plays include:

Ages of the Moon, by Sam Shepard

The Insurgents, a World Premiere of a Commissioned Play by Lucy Thurber

Race, by David Mamet

We Are Here,  by Tracy Thorne

and

From Prague, World Premiere by Kyle Bradstreet

There are also extra, mostly free events, lectures and readings scheduled throughout the Festival. Listings are available at the website, www.catf.org.

Tickets are available now at the Box Office (warning a number of shows are Sold Out already, so call soon), 304-876-3473 or 800-999-CATF.

Ages of the Moon, by Sam Shepard, Directed by Ed Herendeen

In this long one-act, two men in their 60s, Ames (Anderson Matthews) and Byron (John Ottavino), sit on Ames’ front porch and discuss their 50-year friendship while waiting for a 5:00 AM eclipse of the moon. Yet, as they discuss their lives, we discover two different personalities, one prone to agitation and anger and the other composed and calm.

Both of them are aware that each is older than the last time they were together and both are losing their memories.

Both have lost the women in their lives… in fact they are together because Ames has called Byron for support because his wife has apparently walked off. We find out later that Byron’s wife, Lacey, has died (something he never told Ames about before… which gets the angrier one upset.)

As the eclipse progresses, they go through arguments, some hand to hand wrangling and what appears to be a near heart attack, ending up as two tired friends who realize they are all each other has as they watch the moon disappear in shadow.

And the question you ask, finally, are these two sides of the same person?

***

The Insurgents, a World Premiere of a Commissioned Play by Lucy Thurber,  Directed by Lear Debessonet

In a small, working class kitchen in western Massachusetts, Sally (Cassie Beck) has returned home from one of her several excursions around the country… something she has been doing for six years. She has been seeking answers to problems that the world seems to have inflicted on her… losing a college scholarship, questioning her identity as daughter to a laid off father and sister to an anti-intellectual brother.

As she questions her life she ponders revolt against society, influenced by the books she immerses herself in about the great insurgents of a previous age (John Brown, Nat Turner and Harriet Tubman)… and one of recent vintage (Timothy McVeigh.). All of them believed in using violence, if necessary. All believed they were called… whether by God or conscience… to carry out their actions.

The question is, now that you have learned how uneven the playing field is, how do you stand up to the things that are tearing you down? How it is not the fault of your lower class family, since you and they were cheated  from birth, that you read the books, on revolution and try to do something about the situation. How do you remain part of your family knowing they will never understand and will be truly alienated?

Be aware, there is a certain amount of audience participation in this work… from the direct discourse at the opening, to the singing, with lyrics supplied in the program, at the end. Don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it.

***

Race, by David Mamet, Directed by Ed Herendeen

Into a law firm run by an Afro-American partner (Guieseppe Jones) and a white partner (Kurt Zischke), with a young, black legal aide ( Crystal A. Dickinson), comes a wealthy white man (Anderson Matthews) accused of raping a black chambermaid. He seeks representation before going to court, having been turned down by another firm. The  greater part of the play is concerned with whether or not the partners will represent him, and, when there is no longer any choice, how they will structure the case to get him off.

At the same time it explores the power structure of race and how it becomes, as Mamet says, “a play about lies… Race, like sex, is a subject on which it is near impossible to tell the truth.” The tension of racial relations and office politics are combined with the weight of attitude, class and money to make surprise twists and turns for the audience.

If you have seen similar Mamet plays…Oleana comes to mind… then you will recognize an aspect of the author’s style that can only be called audience manipulation. The technique requires powerful character performances, and this cast is spectacular.

BTW, many of the scheduled performances of Race started selling out early. Check with the Box Office to see what’s available.

***

We Are Here,  by Tracy Thorne , Directed by Lucie Tiberghien

What happens when a child dies ending a family bloodline in tragedy?

In this remarkable play, two generations of upper middle class interracial marriages are on the verge of falling apart over the untimely death of Eli (Barrington Walters, Jr.), the young son of Billie (Crystal A. Dickinson) and Hal (Cary Donaldson). In the midst of their sorrow Billie somehow speaks to and hears Eli as they discuss ordinary things… Is it a dream? A hallucination?

Hal, her parents…Vera (Tamara Tunie) and Everett (Kurt Zischke)… and her sister Shawn (Stacey Sergeant), with whom she has a stormy relationship, all want her to stop talking to the air. Yet it is the thing that is keeping her sane in the face of misery. During the course of the play, Eli becomes visible and speaks with each of the others in the family… each with a different view of who he was and their relationship with him.

One of the most beautiful concepts in We Are Here is how the family communicates by music, carrying out a weekly song night. The songs show who they are in a clear and creative way… I was especially taken with Vera’s intense version of “Fever” which she sings in a vision of putting baby Eli to sleep.

The grief over of the child, the lift of the music and the closeness of a truly functional family is what finally brings them together to deal with the trial of life.

***

From Prague, World Premiere by Kyle Bradstreet, Directed by Ed Herendeen

For me, this is the best play of the season. Told in alternating monologues as the audience sits in a crumbling church, we learn of the breakup of a family over the sexual transgression of the father, Samuel (John Lescault). After sleeping with one of his students (Julianna Zinkel) and being discovered by his middle son Charles (Andy Bean), he flees to Prague where he apparently has committed suicide leaping off the Charles Bridge at the site of the Great Crucifix.

The interrelationships of the three characters are revealed throughout the monologues as they move from Prague to the funeral of Samuel’s wife, Patricia, back in the States. These are complex interactions which keeps the audience in a framework of investigation as the lives of the three characters go back and forth in time.

Prague is a haunting city made even more so by the wonderful set. Snow is falling as the audience enters and, to some extent, walks through it as they enter. It sets you up for the experience of a family torn apart by lies and self-destruction.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 319 other followers