WHAT IS A HOLIDAY?

Actually, the headline should read “What day is considered as a holiday?”, meaning what day on a calendar is judged to be a so-called day of recognition where it’s treated outside as a “standard” day.

If one looks up the word “holiday” in any dictionary, the meaning can read as a day of observance, a period of time (usually as a single “day”) to commemorate an event, a specific person, or perhaps a seasonal period that is created through nature of through human spirit. In the USA, there is the day called “Presidents Day” (third Monday in February) that is presently the time to commemorate the presidents that once ruled the nation. (One can also include the current king of the land, but we won’t get political here!) It originally was a period to commemorate the birthdays of two of the most beloved former presidents, George Washington (originally on February 22nd), and Abraham Lincoln on February 12th. Before the time when congress approved the three-day weekend rule where selected holidays would be observed on the closest Monday to when the day once fell, the holiday would be noted on the actual day, no matter what day of the week it would fall on. So when Washington’s Birthday fell on February 22nd in 1970 (the final year before the new three day rule went into effect), it fell on a Sunday. Since Sunday is always a “holiday”, many schools and government offices used the next day, February 23rd to take the time off. Lincoln’s birthday was never a federal holiday, but was a holiday in the state of Illinois. So on the 12th, city halls was closed, the department of motor vehicles didn’t do any business, and the state government in Springfield was shut done. However, banks were open and the mail was delivered. But this is all besides the point!

As of this week, the next date of observance is Easter, that this year falls on April 1st. Easter always falls on a Sunday so the three-day weekend rule doesn’t apply. Since Easter is the day that can be seen as the time to celebrate the Spring season that is where the bunnies, chicks, and even lambs can take their part, or as a time that is noted within the Christian based faiths. (That Easter backstory has been noted before through fiction novels, epic feature films, as well as stage musicals!) However, it still falls on a Sunday where every Sunday is suppose to be a holiday! To make up for this loss, many people as well as businesses take Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, as their day to be away. Again, there isn’t necessarily any religious meaning observed to back his day. Many folks see this day as “It’s Friday! Good!!”

But Easter itself doesn’t fall on the same day as it’s considered as a floating holiday. The day is commemorated based upon the March Equinox (March 20th, sometimes March 21st) as noted on the Gregorian calendar, the calendar that is mostly used worldwide to mark the days, weeks, and months. Easter thus falls on the first Sunday after the full moon after March 20th, usually between March 22nd and April 25th. These dates are not to be confused with the Easter celebration period as dictated through the Julian calendar as observed by the Orthodox Christian church. Easter would usually fall on the next Sunday. But again, this is all besides the point.

However for many, another “holiday” falls at this same time this year. The Monday after Easter, April 2nd, is the start of Baseball season, the time to head on over to the ol’ ball game to see the boys in blue (or whatever color your favorite team wares) play nine innings (give or take) of hitting, running, and catching! That’s a holiday worth recalling. And on May 1st, it’s the start of fishing season in some communities. However, every day can be a holiday if one really wanted it to be! Just don’t expect for Hallmark/American Greeting cards to create a card recalling that day to send out to those on your mailing list, assuming that people still send greeting cards through the mail!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

North Hollywood’s Crown City Theatre presents Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP, a mystery “whodunnit” where a group of people staying in a remote country homestead isolated by a heavy snowfall discover that there is a person within their midst may be set for murder!

The backdrop takes place during the winter season at Monkswell Manor, a courtly dwelling converted as a guesthouse run by the Ralstons, Mollie and Giles. (Meagan Cochran and Bobby Slaski) Mollie hears by way of a report on the wireless (radio) about the murder of Maureen Lyon took place nearby, and the police manhunt for a suspect wearing an overcoat seen near the scene of the murder. Meanwhile, four expected guests are to arrive at their guesthouse for a stay, consisting of Christopher Wren (Hans Obma), Mrs Boyle and Major Metcalf (Mouchette van Helsdingen and Nicholas Cleland), and Miss Casewell (Annie Lieberman). A fifth person arrives, Mr. Paravicini. (Michael Mullen). He enters the place claiming that his car ran into a snow ditch and is unable to travel further. He isn’t know by the Ralstons, but is allowed to stay. During that evening, a heavy snowfall occurs trapping everyone inside. Another visitor arrives by skis, Detective Sergeant Trotter (Travis L. Barker), He’s investigating the Lyon murder, but visits based upon the address of Monkswell Manor found written in a notebook discovered near the murder scene. Det. Trotter interviews everyone with a notion that clues may be found. Before long, the phone line is cut. Then the five residents becomes rather restless. Is it because of their entrapment due to the weather? Or perhaps one of these five committed the crime? Did some other person do it? If so, where is the suspect?

This play considered to be a modern classic and one of many of Agatha Christie’s “greatest hits”, is a stage piece that just gets better throughout the ages. Every character represented hold their own personality and charm, even if that character and charm possess itself with evil intentions. Within this production as presented by the Crown City Theatre company, the ensemble cast works very well with one another under the stage direction of Sonny Lira. They supply their performance methods to a theater work where murder and mystery rings true. The stage setting as designed by Joanne Lamb shows a guesthouse as an elementary styled home that keeps its personal wear and tear throughout with a sense of coziness. And since this is a period piece (it takes place in the early 1950’s), Michael Mullin’s costuming of the cast expresses a British postwar-era style that consists of a blend of fashion from the previous three decades that somehow catches up toward the “modern” times.

What makes this play a real treat to experience is not only what takes place on stage, but within the theater space itself. Crown City Theatre is located within the inner courtyard area of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. The theater space itself isn’t anything fancy or elaborate, but far from existing as barren or hollow. This method of theater is actually a good notion since productions that come from such stages are better to take part in that what a large and ornamental place usually churns out. (And no offense given or implied to those show places!) Whatever the case, one will see quality theater as presented by The Crown City Theatre. It’s always worth the journey to this spot that makes up part of the Arts District of North Hollywood.

THE MOUSETRAP, presented by and performs at The Crown City Theatre, 1031 Camarillo Street, one block west of the intersection of Lankershim and Vineland Avenues, North Hollywood, until April 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (818) 605-5685, or via online at http://www.CrownCityTheatre.com
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The Road Theatre Company presents the world premier of THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, Jami Brandli’s comic drama about a middle class family attempting to spend their Christmas season with a number of unanticipated details, along with an unexpected visitor within their midst.

The setting is placed within the Keen residence of Ft. Lee, New Jersey. It’s Christmas Eve, 2011. The war in Iraq is still progressing. So is the stateside battle on the one percent. The Keens consists of Larry (David Gianopoulos), the breadwinner of the family working for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, faithful wife Barbara (Meeghan Holaway), and teenaged daughter Samantha. (Kaitlin Huwe). There was another daughter, Dana (Kara Hume), who enlisted as a healthcare enlistee for the military assigned to Iraq. However, she won’t be present in any physical sense as she became a war casualty. The Keens will be hosting Christmas dinner with two others they know; Pastor Bill Towers (Chet Grissom), who serves as the leader of their community Christian church, and his spouse Shirley (Stepanie Erb), who serves as the pastor’s wife. Samantha is the radical one of the bunch. She’s setting up a protest through her social media contacts against the Iraq war (along with the Occupy Wall Street movement) with a traffic shutdown along the George Washington Bridge. Pastor Bill is present to perhaps conform the Keens over the loss of their eldest daughter. Larry states he may be on standby with snow removal duties through his job, while Barbara (“Babs”) attempts to prepare a Christmas dinner in spite of the circumstances. But this holiday gathering is anything but peaceful as there is a lot of tension felt within the family clan. To make things even more complex, an unexpected visitor arrives. A young person named Nasser shows up at their doorstep. (Erica Mathlin) Nasser’s a refugee from Iraq that worked as a translator for Dana’s military sector. But what is Nasser’s real intentions? Does this mysterious refugee hold a key to what really happened with Dana? Will Samantha, or “S” as she calls herself, go forward with the protest set on Christmas eve? Is Larry and Babs’ marriage on the line? And will Pastor Bill do his Christian duties in giving comfort and joy to the family on the night of all nights? It’s just another Christmas with another dysfunctional family within the suburban bedroom communities of New Jersey, just across the river from The Big Apple.

This original play by Jami Brandli starts out as a post-modern sitcom complete with family members that are stereotypical, consisting of a dad that insists that he know best, a mom that serves as a housewife baking cookies and volunteering at the church, a teenager that makes good only for her own reasons, along with a “man of the cloth” that lives up to his Christian purpose, and his wife that serves as his wife. As the family spends their Christmas with tension and stress, the shift changes when the mysterious stranger arrives. Not as an angel with a miracle, but a person with a “gift”–or perhaps as a gift!

Yes, there are the kind of laughs expressed that are of the snarky variety, but overall, there is a peaceful conclusion to everything! But don’t expect this so-called “happy ending” akin to any one of those Christmas/”Holiday” TV movies that air on The Hallmark Channel! Ann Hearn directs this production that is bittersweet in scope, with more on the “bitter” than on the “sweet”, but in a good way!

Pete Hickcoke provides the set design seen on stage that consists of the Keen family household, all loaded with enough Christmas decorations to make the season joyful and bright, even though the family isn’t as joyful and bright as they could be!

The title of this play comes from the biblical verse that states about a rich man’s way to heaven is the same as a camel passing through the eye of a needle. (Look it up yourself!) It’s also a stage work that plays better outside of the actual Christmas season since it’s more of a downer than one that’s festive. No matter, through! It’s still amusing in its own right. So are dysfunctional domestic families as seen in the post-modern world of entertainment!

THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, presented by The Road Theatre Company, and performs at The Road Theatre space (upstairs), located within the Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, until May 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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