On my writer's blog this morning, I have a guest post by an author publishing under the name Sophia Stone. In her memoir, "Mormon Diaries," Stone examines her life, her relationships, and her faith. She writes with honesty and bravery as she dares to face and question what she once thought of as truth.
To read the interview with Sophia Stone, go to my writer's blog, Play off the Page, www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com. If you're reading this at a later date, find the tab under my picture header for Book Reviews.
The Crow Wing State Park located nine miles south of Brainerd on highway 371 offers gorgeous trails with historical markers. The Chef and I walked along the trails where the Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers intersect. I wondered why I hadn't been there before either on my own or with a school group with one of my kids. Some schools do use this park as one of their field trips. My kids' classes did not go here. I think they missed out.
"Appomattox" by Christopher Hampton is a play in two acts, currently playing at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The first half of the play is set during the American Civil War with all the main players of the time, President Abraham Lincoln, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, and their wives, generals, soldiers and slaves. The battle is raging to end slavery, save the union, and end oppression.
I've seen "The Diary of Anne Frank" performed several times, and this production at the local college/Brainerd community theatre was different. It is a newer adaptation of Anne's diary. I had a stronger sense of their religion and customs in this version. Anne speaks more openly about her body and sexuality, though not overtly, rather as most girls do as they're growing up and curious about their bodies and who they will fall in love with. I felt more of a tenderness between Anne and her mom towards the end of this production than I've ever felt.
The Cat in the Hat provides fun that is funny on that cold, cold, wet day when Sally and her brother let him into their house. The suspicious, old fish scolds and complains as he, and many other household items, hang in the balance, on the end of the Cat's umbrella, or the top of his hat. When the Cat lets Thing One and Thing Two out of the box, the chaos is out of control, and the fish worries that "They should not be here when your mother is out!"
I would like to thank Michelle Woster for inviting me to view and review "Measure for Measure", by Ten Thousand Things Theater. They are a theater company that takes the show on the road, performing at prisons, shelters, housing projects, remote rural locations, and accessible venues. (They have hopes of coming to the Brainerd area next year.) They keep the set and props simple and representative, making it easy to set up their "stage" wherever they go. We walked into the performance space at The Open Book, downtown Minneapolis, where the chairs were set for theater in the round.
Li-Young Lee is a nationally acclaimed poet and scholar. He visited CLC on Monday, Sept. 24, and read from his collection. He grew up with the feeling that he was the enemy in the various foreign countries where he lived, which seeped into his psyche and his writing. He told us about the four selves: We have our public self, the one we show to anyone, even strangers. We have our private self, who we are with friends and family, where we feel a little safer. We have our inner self, the one we know and keep only to ourselves.
In "Tales from Hollywood" the exiled writers who fled Nazi Germany form a community in Los Angelos. They're trying to write in a foreign country using a foreign language with foreign ideals and concepts. And, all the while they're trying to make sense of this cruel world and eek out an existence. Bertolt Brecht questions why he is writing for the screen when he is a playwright in a medium where there is no interaction with the audience. In an interesting use of light and sound, the creative team at The Guthrie Theater projects scenes from the play onto screens as the backdrop.
"Buccaneers" has all the elements of a great show for older elementary students through adults. It does have some scary images that might be disturbing for younger kids. I heard one mother say that her preschooler wanted to leave after the opening scenes on board the ship. The captain looks and sounds scary and he doles out some harsh punishments. The boys who attended the show with me, ages 11 & 13, loved the show. They thought it was exciting, said it was, "Awesome," and were really engaged with the show.
The best thing about watching plays at The Guthrie Theater Studio is that they offer something new. Not that all the plays are brand new. I saw "Julius Caesar" there last year, but done in a contemporary way. Other shows have been quite new from lesser known, still alive, playwrights, that have more diversity. "The Brothers Size" by Tarell Alvin McCraney is a modern play about brothers who live in a community in Louisianna where life is a struggle. People don't have much, and what they have, they've had to fight to keep. This includes relationships.