If you’re looking for a last-minute contribution to make—maybe to round up your tax-deductible total for the year—I have… some suggestions.
These are the groups and projects to which I gave coin (generally tax-deductible), property, and/or effort in 2017.
The matrix of judging assignments for 2018 WATCH has been released. I’ll be visiting a member company that’s new to me. And doing a lot of driving.
- Johnston, House
- Sondheim, Assassins
- Morgan, The Audience
- Menken, Ashman, and Rice, Beauty and the Beast
- Mamet, American Buffalo
- Simon, California Suite
- Morey/Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
- Lerner and Loewe, Brigadoon
Plus two ever-popular TBDs.
Long-overlooked research explains the nature of Rudolph’s glow, and its fitness for his habitat.
The records for 25 December 1949 indicate a worldwide fog of unprecedented extent. Claus’ adoption of Rudolph and cultivation of a pure-breeding strain facilitated his navigational tasks during the smogs that beset developed countries in the 1950s and 1960s.
Jared M. Spool dismembers Net Promoter Score from the user experience perspective: easy to game, sensitive to noise, not correlated with past or future actual behavior,
NPS scores are the equivalent of a daily horoscope.
Thanks to Cameron Binkley and his librarian contacts at the California Academy of Sciences, I now have confirmation that Laura White’s memorial to her husband, as specified in her will, was indeed realized at CAS. According to academy’s 1958 annual report, the Lovell White Hall of Man and Nature was part of the Hall of Science (along with the Alexander Morrison Planetarium).
The Whites’ daughter-in-law Ruth gave an oral history interview in 1976. She fills in some of the details of the White-CAS connection.
RB: So then I gave [the Garden of Allah] to the California Academy of Sciences and they had it for about three years, two or three years and they loved it. The reason I selected that to give it to is because the California Academy of Sciences has a memorial for Ralston’s father, Mr. Lovell White. His mother gave it to the California a memorial there, so I thought it would be very appropriate for the —
CE: The Academy of Sciences. Were they delighted with the bequest?
RB: They certainly were delighted but regrettably their income was restricted to be spent in the City and County of San Francisco so they had to give it up painfully.
A mystery inside a mystery: The Garden of Allah, Ralston and Ruth’s Marin County home, is not the Los Angeles resort of the same name that is the setting for Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah.
The Hall of Science was demolished as part of CAS’s rebuild in 2008, so maybe Laura and Lovell would have been better off with a plaque or a statue.
Suddenly is a captivating dramatization of a suite of short stories (cryptic little tales, more precisely) by Edgar Keret, employing puppets, live video, and actors. Here, the puppets and scenery are scaled to the frame of a video lens: a ten-inch-long pair of legs, trudging through a streetscape of castoff, broken bits of frames and shutters, becomes the lonely man Miron walking down a shabby street. The moving video lens manipulates point of view. There is the the touching story of a dog named Tuvia, a puppet constructed from scraps of fabric. When Tuvia is abandoned on a street corner, we watch the dog recede from view as the camera walks away. The camera leverages perspective: a two-shot of the feet of a live actor and those of puppet Miron line up perfectly. In the piece’s most intriguing breakdown of narrative frames, the dog Tuvia chews on the cameraman’s cables and runs roughshod over the set for Miron’s meeting in a coffee shop. Narrator and listener exchange places multiple times over the course of the stories.
The philosophy of the piece is that it is more difficult, but more valuable, to make something out of something (not out of nothing). For indeed, in doing so, you learn that the something was there all along.
- Suddenly, based on stories by Etgar Keret, adapted by Zvi Sahar and Oded Littman, The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, directed by Zvi Sahar, PuppetCinema, Clarice Center Kogod Theater, College Park, Md.
Lauren Gunderson on the most durable social media outlet: live storytelling.
Theater is not on demand. Rather it asks you to show up on time and focus in order to experience the intimate intensity of its medium.
Hilary Howard reports on the precarious state of independent acting conservatories in New York. To stay afloat, many have partnered with universities (at the cost of higher fees for their students). The Knickerbocker’s showcase is now online (which makes sense, because aspiring actors are gravitating to classes in auditioning and on-camera work and skipping classes in craft). Rents for Chelsea venues are climbing. At Stanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse,
“We are all afraid of the roof caving in,” said Ms. [Pamela] Moller Kareman, who had to pay $20,000 to fix the building’s out-of-commission elevator when she was first hired. “The elevator guys said we don’t even have parts for this anymore,” she recalled.
Keegan Theatre delivers a solid production of this story of the accomplished businesswoman Marlene (Karina Hilleard), recently promoted to managing director of her employment agency, who may be having second thoughts about the sacrifices she has made to ensure her success. The trippy opening scene, a dinner party to which Marlene has invited five women from history and legend, crackles with energy, a mashup of the real and the imagined.
The core drama, set in early Thatcherite Britain, hasn’t lost any of its bite in today’s world of grabby reality show hosts, underserved people in need, and open secrets. Caroline Dubberly is a standout as Angie, a special needs young girl who’ll likely never finish high school, but who understands things that none of the adults in her life ever will.
- Top Girls, by Caryl Churchill, directed by Amber Paige McGinnis, Keegan Theatre, Washington
I received word that Steven Mead Johnson, whom I portrayed in The Laramie Project in 2004, has passed away, by way of a friend of Steven’s. In reply, I wrote,
I was saddened to learn of Steven’s passing. He was such a gentle, dear man. We had the very good fortune that he was living in Reston at the time of our production, as he was pastor of a local Unitarian congregation. He was able to meet with us and thus to deepen our understanding of the people of that rugged, remote place in Wyoming. And I rather think that he was good-natured about my borrowing of some of his physical mannerisms.
The standouts in this frothy entertainment are old school Eddie Korbich as Hines, the officious time and motion man, and Prez, played with gawky grace by Blakely Slaybaugh. Korbich gets his taps on for “Think of the Time I Save” and takes a turn with Broadway éminence Donna McKechnie in “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again”—two dance breaks that aren’t frequently seen. Slaybaugh gives us a comically acrobatic “Her Is.”
Which is to say that the choreography by Parker Esse and its execution are top notch: we loved the tape measures as streamers and hula hoops for “Once a Year Day.”
- The Pajama Game, music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, directed by Alan Paul, Arena Stage Fichandler Stage, Washington
On a drizzly Sunday morning, Carole Bergmann led a walk through Blockhouse Point Conservation Park. Fall colors were quite good, the Pawpaws getting ready to drop their leaves. This Sensitive Fern is packing it in for the season.
Fellow walker Tom was our fungi maven. At left, he ID’d this cespitose cluster of stipes as Pholiota squarrosoides. And for a second non-polypore fruiting from the trunk of a tree, he also called Hericium erinaceus, at right.
Posted in In the Field