It may have taken some ninety years to complete this journey, but this world has finally returned to the decade ending with the 20‘s!l
Up until now, the ten year calendar period that featured a “2” as its third number for its year was previously recalled, (if not remembered for this nation), as the decade that featured the style of the raccoon coats, varsity sweaters, and flapper outfits. Folks were driving Model-T Fords and other flivvers of makes long gone and forgotten. People were drinking gin made in bathtubs and consumed as served in speakeasies always keeping one step ahead from the feds. On the Victoria “talking machines” were recordings of the tunes of Rudy Valle, Paul Whitman, and Coon-Sanders and the Kansas City Nighthawks. And the latest electronic device around was something called the “radio” where one can hear music as well as news and information coming from far away places such as New York, Detroit, and even Pittsburgh!! Chicago was crawling with gangsters making sure that their booze details were left alone–or somebody is going to play a tune on their fiddle in the form of a Tommy gun! Movies were the rage with such stars of the “photo-plays” with names as John Gilbert, Clara Bow, Thelma Todd, and Rudolph Valentino for drama, while Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and the Keystone Cops were making ‘em laugh–all without sound. That is, until Al Jolson later told ‘em “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet!”
Yes, those life and times would have otherwise been known as the “good old days” where the nostalgia was at its peak! Sadly, the decade that started this entry was known as the Nineteen Twenties that all began on January 1st, 1920–some one hundred years before. In this day and age, very few folks that were around during that decade are still living. And those same surviving souls may not necessarily remember anything about that decade expect that they may know of what was around at that time. And for a lot of people, those fads and fashions didn’t effect them, let alone involve their being! It was what it was!
But within the last few weeks, the biggest concentration to the past times of now were the previous decade of this 21st century, the 10’s, or better known as the “teens”. Those days that lasted from January 1st, 2010 through December 31st of ’19 were discussed, texted, tweeted, and even instagramed to its living death! It was indeed the good times, and the bad ones to boot!
The decade started off in the USA on a sour note. The Great Recession was going at full tilt. People were out of work, and for many, out of their homes! Big manufactures were operating by the skin of their teeth. And thanks to government hosted bailouts, the larger corporations such as General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, were able to survive, yet barley! But within a few years, the bust period were beginning to boom itself out. But by the time forks were ringing out 2019 either from Times Square or via virtual reality devices, the boom would continue. However, it was not going through the same pace for everyone. The homes people lost were either regained eventually, or were gone for good. Some of those folks wound up living on the already crowded streets and alleyways. Rulings of a political nature either brought citizens closer to one another, or tore them apart! Colors were also the big thing, with such shades as red, blue, black, brown, and white with the same “do-or-die” attitude! Such groupings turned to social media with mashed-up names starting with a symbol that could be called “pound”, “hashtag”, or “#”., if not with an emoji.
To place things in its perspective, this decade past saw its share of the good times, and the bad ones to boot! (A phrase worth repeating!) Things were rough, smooth, or it bailey budged for all of the good, bad, or otherwise!
But as to what the 2020s will bring is still everyone’s guess! All anyone can do is to give it a wait and see attitude. And what that something is is just another text, tweet, hashtag or emoji away! But until then, we’ll just spend the days stilling on a flagpole with a hot-cha-cha and a vo-do-dee-vo-do! That is what makes these times the best one we can find–so far!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale kicks off their 2020 season with the Brandon Thomas’ comic classic CHARLIE’S AUNT, a witty farce that deals with a duo of college boys, the women they attempt to impress, and an auntie that comes to visit–or not!
The story examines a pair of Yale students, Jack Chesney (Ethan Leaverton) and Charley Wykeham (Anthony Lofaso), who are in love with their girlfriends Kitty Spettigue (Autumn Harrison) and Amy Verdun, (Lauren Faulkner)–in that order. The two ladies have their connections. (Amy’s uncle, Stephen Spettigue, is Kitty’s guardian). Both are set to depart for Scotland early the next day. Jack and Charley desires to have a private moment in which to disclose their fondness toward Kitty and Amy, yet can’t have the two to their rooms alone out of concern for the girls’ good character. Thus, a chaperone is needed! Luck has it that Charley is expecting his aunt Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez (Megan Blakeley), who happens to be the rich widow of a Brazilian millionaire, and has bankrolled his education. However, he never met this deceased uncle-in-law in person. At the eleventh hour, Donna Lucia wires a telegram to Charley stating she has been delayed on her scheduled arrival. Kitty and Amy are arriving soon with no chaperone. So they ask–or actually, influence their old friend Lord Fancourt Babberly (Ethan Haslam), who just so happens to be appearing in an amateur theatre production playing an elderly woman, to play Charley’s Aunt donning a frumpy “old lady” costume and all! Will Fancourt get away of playing auntie for the moment, or is there more that what he had bargained for with doing this favor for his college pals?
This timeless slapstick comedy has been pleasing audiences for over one hundred years. Its origins date back to the late 19th century, first appearing in Great Britain, later moving stateside. The GCT’s production shows off its comical farce as a frantic program, loaded with physical humor and the mistaken identities that provides its laugh appeal. The fevered aspects ring true especially through the talents of Ethan Leaverton and Anthony Lofaso appearing as Jack and Charley, making this pair a high comic duo. This pair plays off of much of the for noted cast that also feature Howard Lockie as Colonel Francis Chesneym-Jack’s dad, Shawn Cahill as Stephen Spettigue, who has his eyes on Charley’s auntie, Angie Portillo as Ela Delanhay, and GTC favorite Richard Malmos as Brassett, the energetic butler and footman to the boys.
Carter Thomas directs this show with all the frenziness one can expect in such a comedy. By way of the action of the cast and through their spoken dialogue, all provides their amusement through every twist and turn!
Another GCT behind the scenes regular, Angelia Manke, provides the period costuming that gives much of the flavor of the era–in this case, the roarin’ nineteen twenties! The same goes for Tracey Thomas’ production design of the theatre-in-the-round created sets.
It’s not often that such a show is made available for modern day audiences to enjoy while getting a good laugh or three. For those that desire to get a supply of such comedy, then this is the show to see–the same program where the nuts do come from!
CHARLIE’S AUNT presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until February 1st. Showtimes are Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or via online at
MUSKET AND THE RAT, Sammy Horowitz’s urban drama about a woman living through the underworld of peddling drugs, the few “friends” in her life, as well as the family she keeps by way of blood relatives and through association, makes its world premier at Arena Stage Hollywood.
Maya Schnaider is Musket Cherry. She’s a badass woman who lives in a shabby apartment located in one of Chicago’s rougher neighborhoods. Her trade is being a low level drug dealer whose clients that she has long dealt with come parading in and out of her flat for their fix. She only has two so-called true friends. One is Gay Steve (Adam Pasen) whose cleaner cut image is an opposite of Musket as he lives in “Boystown”, a more upscale (and very gay) neighborhood. Her other is Billy (Adrian Burks), a boyfriend of sorts that comes around for his drug fix as well as for a friendly f-ck. Musket lives with her mother Tabitha. (Michelle Holmes) She’s isn’t in any better condition than her daughter as she is just as high strung over countless years worth of substance abuse. All live through a vast amount of stress as Musket and company are always watching their backs through the trade of questionable substances, the flow of vast amounts of money, and those seeking revenge through deadly violence. Things move on from bad to worse as Musket’s younger brother Weso is arrested and being charged as an accessory for a robbery rap. Musket arranges bail that Billy can provide. However, he is robbed of the bail money through a neighborhood rival. Things are just as rough at Cook County Jail where Weso’s life is in danger. It’s up to Musket, thanks to her street smarts as well as a plot through her own slant toward justice, to get some wrongs being righted.
This new play written by Sammy Horowitz is a very edgy and hard hitting drama, loaded with the gritty settings and characters that showcase the city’s underbelly where large amounts of cash money, illegal drugs, and violence isn’t just the exception, but the rule! The characters are just as worn and strung out as the neighborhood they dwell within. At times, the situations become a bit on the ugly side. These settings are what makes this play rather appealing, showing off a life that isn’t neat, clean, and where one wrong about face can cost one’s life through the barrel of a gun. Maya Schnaider as Musket shows off her ability to do what she has to survive in the urban jungle and to never take any s#it from anyone no matter what! Adam Pasen as Gay Stevie is present at Muscat’s side while she deals in her trade and keeping his image a glow. (Literally!) Adrian Burks as Billy is a user in many aspects, perhaps using Musket as a protege. And the rest of the cast that features Curt Cornelius, Angel Lizarraga, Garrick LeWinter, and Emma Hoss, play characters that are part of the domain that Musket lives for the better or for the worse!
Special notes goes toward Fatimah Bey’s costuming dressing everyone in urban streetwise clothing, along with Aaron Glazer’s set design of Musket and Tabitha’s unidealized apartment loaded with shabby furnishings littered with empty chip bags and beverage containers proving that the characters don’t live in squeaky-clean Arlington Heights!
Masterly directed by Simon Lees, MUSKET AND THE RAT can hold a moral where to just trust nobody but themselves! The title of this play even sums up everything as all isn’t as fair in the so-called war on drugs and life itself!
MUSKET AND THE RAT, presented by Dull Boy Productions and performs at the Arena Stage Hollywood, 1625 North Las Palmas Avenue, located between Selma Avenue and Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, until January 18th. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM.
For ticket reservations and for more information, call (800) 838-3006, or online at https://BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4423684
Visit the play’s official website at http://www.MusketAndRat.com
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