...Or the beginning?
Monday, October 31, 2016
My visit to see the show was on what should have been it's next to last performance this afternoon, and it was in a word--"FUN!!!" Oh my, such Fun! Everything in the production is built upon wheels and it never stops rolling! You cannot keep from getting caught up in the excitement. The choreography of acting, dialogue, and sets wrapped in lighting and sound effects is a little bit like accepting a ride on a roller coaster. From the first moment the cast starts moving, you strap in and hang on.
The script takes you through what is a rather endearing and complex early 19th century romp--most beloved by so many--in a fashion that honors the story, but also creates something sufficiently new as to be it's own special thing. The actors in this production coalesce with a fine syncopation that reminds me of the best versions of other plays were a set cast embodies multiple roles. Because they are all so wonderful, it's really difficult and easy to site-specific instances of standout moments. Jamie Smithson's electric and audience engaging portrayal of the rakish Robert Ferrars was a tour de force moment of energetic embodiment of the essence of a single character. Lisa Birnbaum had a similarly stealing moment when she portrayed the Dowager Ferrars.
Even the most amazing ensemble needs glue to hold it together and this production was bound by the brilliant performances of Maggie McDowell (Elinor) and Erin Weaver (Marianne) as the Dashwood sisters.
|Mr. Dashwood (James Patrick Nelson) dies....at the beginning setting the whole cavalcade of events into motion!|
|Another full ensemble moment. The actor in the middle who was present in the previous image was also not present at the performance I attended and her understudy filled in.|
|Such creative staging! Here Mr. Willoughby and Miss Marianne Dashwood are out for the ride in the country as other cast members play the carriage, the horses, the forest and the wind!|
|In a quieter moment Edward and Elinor come to terms with their complicated lives and destiny.|
Another aspect of this venerable institution is the art that adorns its deceptively austere facade.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
From time to time I have shared excerpts from a favorite children's book with you. Here is one by possibly my favorite illustrator Trina Schart Hyman (1939-2004). While one of the most beloved and classic tales of childhood, in her hands "Little Red Riding Hood" becomes both the quintessential retelling and a beautifully layered and carefully crafted story rich with psychological complexity to delight both children and adults alike. Her attention to the most minute details of setting fascinate. And her tender and insightful portrayal of the character's countenances bring a level depth to the story that imprints it upon your thoughts in a nearly haunting way. So intriguing are the images and so cohesive, they not only stand alone as impressive works of art, she also uses them to tell a sub-plot all her own. Hint: watch the cats!
Once his teeth were bared,
Though, I really got scared-
Well, excited and scared-
But he drew me close
And he swallowed me down,
Down a dark slimy path
Where lie secrets that I never want to know
And when everything familiar seems to disappear forever
At the end of the path was granny once again
As we lie in the dark till you came and set us free
And you brought us to the light
And I know things now,
Many valuable things,
That I hadn't known before:
Do not put your faith
In a cape and a hood,
They will not protect you
The way that they should.
And take extra care with strangers,
Even flowers have their dangers.
~ Stephen Sondheim
All's well that ends well...
Sunday, October 23, 2016
The set, which is the first thing you see, naturally was beautifully designed to represent the foyer, drawing room, dining room and grand staircase of Regina Giddens' (ne Hubbard) home. Contrasted by a faded background of leafless forest bespeaking a mansion with walls made of glass.
The actors were to a person compelling and well anchored by Marg Helgenberger (of "CSI" and "China Beach" fame). She sunk her teeth into this juicy role and shook it for all it was worth! Honorable mentions to Kim James Bey (Addie) and Isabel Keating (Birdie Hubbard), but seriously the entire cast was wonderful. The role of Benjamin Hubbard was performed by one of DC's most highly acclaimed local actor, Edward Gero (5 Helen Hayes awards). Top to bottom excellent credentials.
|Marg Helgenberger as Regina Giddens|
|The whole family of "foxes," Elder brother Benjamin Hubbard (Edward Gero), younger brother Oscar Hubbard (Gregory Linington), his wife Birdie (Isabel Keating), and their sister, Regina.|
|Birdie and Regina dreaming about their promised wealth.|
|Regina and Horace's daughter, Alexandra (Megan Graves) with the house servant, Addie (Kim James Bey).|
|Horace Giddens (Jack Willis) being welcomed home by Birdie and Regina glares on.|