This upcoming weekend in the USA, it’s the Memorial Day weekend where on Monday, May 29th, the nation pays tribute to those that served within the American Forces in battle or combat, but never came home to receive their glory, as well as telling stories on how it was like in the services–good, bad, or otherwise.
And for many years, this news service did pay tribute to that holiday as it’s an important one to take note. Of course, it’s also the unofficial start of the Summer season where many people will welcome the summer months that fall ahead.
This time around, we are going to remember our notes for this time of year as we reprint our notes on what we had to say, as we “Remember The Memorial” via Vol. 13-No. 21-Week of May 26th, 2008…
Memorial Day, taking place on May 26th of this year, is the traditional day to remember those that have perished in the line of military duty. The ones remembered are the fighting men (and in current times, fighting women), that have gone of to war or battle never to return participating in the conflicts that this nation has been involved in from the Civil War (when Memorial Day was created c.1866 by John A. Logan, a Northern Army general from Murphysburo, Illinois who served in the war between the states) to the current conflict that is for the time being, has taken a back seat position in the news headlines for other matters, such as the Democratic candidate battle, the recession, and other notes of importance.
In spite of all of the pomp and circumstance that this holiday has witnessed, this last full weekend in May has also served as the start of the summer season. This is the time where folks in the good ol’’ USA fired up their barbecues, went on a trip somewhere, and just took advantage of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer until the Labor Day weekend.
We can’t state the status of the barbecues, but that trip somewhere? As long as that trip was taken by bicycle, on foot, or in some other motorized vehicle that didn’t use much fuel, it appeared that many people just stayed put. But even those trips that took place by only getting across town, people just didn’t want to use their cars and trucks–especially those trucks that at one time was the hottest thing on the roads–open or otherwise!
Since the start of this year (this writer will get back to the Memorial Day part of this essay in a moment), one of the biggest selling vehicles has been the motor scooter and the hybrid car. Sales of those lighter two wheeled motorized bikes have spiked! Many dealers that sell the line of Yahamas, Hondas, and the Vespas–those classic Italian bikes that one could find somewhere in a Fellini film, has made a comeback. According to dealers that sell these bikes to new riders, nearly 95% of those customers stated that current gas prices are the real cause to grab these bikes. And hybrid cars? Toyota had recently reported that the Prius, the car with the unusual name that were first introduced in Japan in 1997–around the time that the SUV in America was at its peak, sold 1.028 million of these vehicles around the world as of the end of April, according to a report filed by Toyota Motor Corporation.
Since getting around town isn’t just for pleasure per se, driving some sort of motorized vehicle that takes on little gas (or at all) is downright appealing! Sure, one should have something that’s fun to drive, but as long as it ain’t going to cost an arm and a leg, why not take advantage of something that is there? Sadly, because of the supply and demand cycle, one won’t necessarily find a whole lot of cost cutting bargains around. So if one is in the market for something of this nature, expect to pay in full!
So what does driving in an almost gasless car or bike have to do with Memorial Day? Nothing really! It’s just that in these current times, one has to get one self in gear to switch from one topic to the next. Call this way of progress as another method of being bombarded with too much media around! If one starts their morning checking their e-mail messages (even if 90% of those messages would be considered as “junk”) long before that person even speaks to a real person, then this is where the rub begins–or even ends for that matter! So as a word of caution, expect this publication to do the same thing in the near future!
This writer also believes that rocky road ice cream is long overdue for a major comeback!! But we will save that topic for another edition! Stay tuned!!
Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills concludes their 2022-23 season with THE REVOLUTIONISTS, Lauren Gunderson’s play about four women dealing with a national revolution taking place in their country, each one handing it through their own ways and means.
The setting is France. It’s 1793 and there’s a “reign of terror” that’s going on where emotions are high along with a guillotine ready for action. Kat Kemmet is Olympe de Gourges, a playwright that’s starting out on her new venture, yet deciding on what play she should write about. Sami Stummanis is Charlotte Corday, who’s hell bent is plotting to assassinate one of the people connected toward the reason why the nation is in turmoil. Alana J. Webster is Marianne Angelle, a free Haitian who is fighting to keep her country of origin away from holding slaves in working the sugar cane farms so France can keep their sweets sweet. And rounding out this trio is Marie Antionette (Meghan Lloyd), the one time Queen keeping short of letting the peasants eat cake. It’s a mix of these brave witted women, each one out for their own causes as their county is handing out the affairs through their own methods, headless or otherwise!
This play written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Melanie MacQueen starts off as a 21st century American sitcom set in 18th century France. The banter is witty while the cast of characters are as diverse as 18th century France allows. As the situations progress, so does the tone of the play. Things become rather serious as Olympe and company encounter how their flights for the cause costs them their own well beings in addition to their own lives. Although the times are sobering enough, some of the humor from the first portion of the play still remains. The notions as seen within this production shows that these female characters are strong witted and can take care of their own selves. All except for Marie Antionette that keeps her interest in check by her desire of fancy ribbons placed upon fancier teacups.
What makes this production a charm is its stage presence. Michael Mullen’s costuming has everyone decked out in period gear that shows 18th century France in fluffy outfits and powdered wigs. (Judi Lewin is in charge of the hair, wig, and makeup design!) And rounding things off, Theater 40 resident set designer Jeff G. Rack shows off the fancy furnishing along with a crystal chandelier that makes the era just as nice looking, although the revolution itself was far removed from that nicety.
This play is the ideal production to conclude Theater 40’s 56th year of existence. It’s 57th season will present eight different plays whose focus is comedy, mystery, along with drama. Those elements is what make live theater just what it is. It’s an experience that can’t be seen or appreciated through a video screen. More details on that 57th season will be available through Theater 40th’s website as posted below.
THE REVOLUTIONISTS, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until June 18th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
A Noise Within of Pasadena closes out their 2022-23 season with THE BOOK OF WILL, Lauren Gundersen’s play that deals with two parties that fight for the preservation of William Shakespeare’s coveted plays before they become lost and forgotten.
The place is Great Britain. It’s 1619, and the nation’s greatest playwright, William Shakespeare has been dead for some three years. John Heminges (Geoff Elliot) and Henry Condell (Jeremy Rabb), two members of The King’s Men, the rep theater company that have appeared and performed in many of The Bard’s productions, seek to have some of these plays published, let alone written down, before time and tide creates these theater pieces to become faded and forgotten, never to be appreciated ever again! So with their team of fellow players, they seek to have many of the tattered manuscripts written down (by hand of course) so they can become ready for press in the First Folio. However, William Jaggard (Frederick Stuart) along with his son Isaac (Stanley Andrew Jackson) has published Will’s other portion of his works. The notion is to have the complete works compiled into one Folio, rather than to have those pieces separated and to become the “official” collection. So as time isn’t on their side and the world isn’t necessarily all the stage, the quest remains. Will The Book of Will be preserved for future generations to enjoy, study, reuse, reimagine, use and abuse? Or will these ever quoted sonnets and scenarios become lost for no one to enhance theater stages worldwide?
This work as written (not by hand, but through printed type) by Lauren Gunderson, is a behind-the-scenes play of how such stage plays were ever considered to be saved, rather than use then as a “yesterday’s newspaper” case as found as amusing one day and stale the next. The play itself (Gunderson’s, not Shakespeare’s), is depicted as a comical drama. It’s not really a madcap farce per se, although the cast of characters appearing show some form of humor into it all. It’s as much as a comedy (or “comedie”) that The Bard himself would have composed with a quill in hand and paper parchment ready to accept that quill dipped in ink.
The two leads, Geoff Elliot and Jeremy Rabb, take their characters into an amusing and serious node. What they do will become a favor to the English speaking theater world, even though they will never receive the credit for what they eventually did. Ditto for those that worked behind the scenes as well as the others that did recite all those lines that made W.S. famous or infamous, depending on how one accepts it all.
The rest of the cast appearing in Gunderson’s play, consisting of Nicole Javier, Kasey Mahaffy, Trisha Miller, Deborah Strang, along with Kelvin Morrales, and Alex Morris, do their part in keeping along with the pace of making sure that everyone can indeed brush up their Shakespeare. (Some of the noted cast members perform in multiple roles.)
And with a play that takes place in the 17th century, there’s the period costuming and setting that’s worth its mention. Angelia Balogh Calin’s costuming is right for the period depicted, and Frederica Nascimento’s scenic design is vast with floating and minimal sets with plenty of exposure of parchment around that is fit to ink down those words that The Brad thought of ranging from “Where Art Thou?” to “To Be Or Not To Be”, among many other lines.
Directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliot & Geoff Elliot, THE BOOK OF WILL is an amusing production. It’s been noted that this piece is a “love letter” to The Bard’s stage pieces. It’s more as a “like letter” as Shakespeare plays can be loved or despised, depending on where one stands within the field of stage entertainment. And here’s the spoiler alert! Those plays were eventually saved! But you already knew that!
THE BOOK OF WILL, presented by and performs at A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, until June 4th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM with matinees Saturday and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Special Thursday night performances take place on May 25th and June 1st at 7:30 PM. Special “talk backs” with the cast takes place following every Friday evening performance as well after the Sunday, May 21st presentation.
For tickets and for more details, call (626) 356-3100, or via online at http://www.ANoiseWithin.org
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