Theatre Review: King Hedley II

P1000284Does race matter? With events in our culture recently, we are confronted with arguments to blend ethnic heritage as well as maintain boundaries between distinct groups. But, should race matter when we go to see a play? We have seen plenty of plays that appear to cast without regard to the racial background of the actors. And, we have seen plays that made conscious decisions to cast characters with a specific racial identification. We have attended plays in which nearly every seat was filled by audience members of the same racial group. When we were preparing to attend a production of August Wilson’s play King Headly II at Arena Stage, some of the comments we received from friends included: “He wrote those plays about African Americans, right?”, “I’d like to see one of his plays with a black audience. It would probably different from when I saw it in the middle of a white audience.”, “His plays are rather dark (double meaning, intended)”. These comment suggest that race does matter. Continue reading

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Can’t get to Paris, Try Palo Alto, CA

P1000132Though I love to travel and visit places with great collections of art, most days I have neither the time or money.  And, our priority is to spend time with our parents and family while they are around.  Thus, while  Rome and Naples are on our travel agenda shortly, other locations are not.  We would love to visit Paris.  It will wait.  While those major art destinations may be for the future, there are lots of place close to our current itineraries that have valuable collections.  With a new camera wanting to be broken in, while visiting my family in California recently, I missed Paris, but did visit the Rodin Sculpure Garden at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  It was a 12 minute drive on a Sunday morning.  The campus has many beautify Spanish style buildings, a chapel with gorgeous frescos and mosaics, and an art museum.  I will have to visit those on an future family visit. Continue reading

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Theatre Review: The White Devil

Should some stories not be told?  I am not in favor of censorship.  Yet, a number of popular entertainment options never come on my list.  I am not much into “chick-flicks” or “mayhem horror” genre movies.  My concern is the explicit and implicit messages that the themes in some book, movies, and music relay.  While I can tune them out personally, I observe what I consider to be the adverse social effects of the lack of discretion of the authors, producers and movie studios and publishing houses. Continue reading

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Art of the Gospels, Part 12, The Death of Jesus

P1080201At the Last Supper, after Jesus announced that one of his followers would betray him, he instructed Judas to leave and make his arrangements quickly. Judas went to the Jewish leaders, to bargain a price for delivering Jesus to them. As Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, Judas and a band of armed soldiers from the chief priest and Pharisees arrived. His cue to them would be to kiss the one whom they sought. Continue reading

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Mary’s Crescent Moon

P1000305Just a quick photo of this evening’s crescent moon, here on a clear cold winter night.  I happen to step out to toss some compost into the pile.  When I turned around this is what I saw.  In the post I wrote about Light in the Gospels, I mentioned that Mary, Jesus’ mother, has the crescent moon as one of her symbols.  Well, here it is.  On the closer shot, you can also see the planet Venus, and possibly another planet faintly.  I would have to do some astronomy investigating to determine whether this was Saturn or Jupiter at this time.  Look, Greek gods all about the heavens!



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Theatre Review: The Taming of the Shrew

P1000264The play-within-a-play is a common device in Elizabethan theatre. Memorable ones occur in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In Hamlet, the prince arranges for some players to put on a play about someone killing a king to obtain his position, in order to assess the guilt of Hamlet’s uncle in the death of his father. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a band of peasants try to put on a play about Pyramus and Thisbe to entertain the lords and ladies of the enchanted forest. Today, we are familiar with this theatrical device in stories, movies, and TV shows. There are the back-story flashbacks, the future oriented projections (prophecies, we were a more spiritual society), and dream sequences that provide us with information or a window into the characters’ thoughts. Most of the time these plays-within-plays are brief scenes. However, in the case of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the majority of the play is a play-within-a-play. At the Blackfriar Theatre, in Staunton, VA, the cast understood this and played the joke on us. Continue reading

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Art of the Gospels, Part 11: Prophecies in Preparation for the Death of Jesus

P1080221Before Jesus is arrested, he has several meetings with his disciples and followers. At one dinner, in the house of Simon the Leper, his friends, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, whom Jesus has raised from death, were present. The Evangelists’ accounts are somewhat confusing, in that several Mary’s show up in different stories throughout the Gospels. Sometimes, Mary is identified as his mother (such as in the Wedding at Cana). Other times, I was unsure which Mary was involved. For this story, Matthew and Mark only state “a woman”, but John names her “Mary”. Tradition specifies that she is Mary Magdalene, who anoints Jesus with a jar of perfume. Continue reading

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