The 1940's Radio Hour is community theater at its finest up in Pequot Lakes, presented by the GLAPA group. I attended the Sunday afternoon show, which can be more subdued than an evening performance, but it wasn't. It was full of life and energy, beautiful costumes, and interesting scenery. I love it when the band is on stage, as in this show, so that they are part of the effect. They are cast members. Three cheers and a hand massage for the pianist, Renee Anderson. I know how hard you had to work! The music and musicians were phenomenal.
"A Christmas Carol" has been a tradition at The Guthrie Theater for 38 years. I wonder if anyone out there has attended a performance every year? Are there people who work for the Guthrie who have been part of every production? I know that some of the actors have been in several productions. This year, J.C. Cutler is again playing Ebenezer Scrooge. I think he's fantastic.
Attending holiday performances is becoming part of my family's tradition. To read more of my review and see photos of the production, go to my writer's blog, Play off the Page, www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com.
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.
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.
Minnesota Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen visited the Brainerd lakes area as the guest presenter for The League of Minnesota Poets' conference on Saturday, October 13, 2012. She gave a public reading of her poetry at Central Lakes College in the evening. Three local musicians, Sarah Yeh, Anja Smith, and Sophie Stubbs provided lovely music to set the mood for this event. Special thanks to Krista Rolfzen Soukup, of Blue Cottage Agency, for coordinating this event.
Award-winning author Candace Simar visited with me about her fourth book in her Abercrombie Trail series, "Blooming Prairie." The journey starts with Evan Jacobson in "Abercrombie Trail", a Norwegian immigrant in the mid-1800's, who lands in Minnesota. He takes the job of stagecoach driver. Candace uses this as an excellent story-telling tool as Evan drives over the newly settled land from Fort Snelling to Fort Abercrombie, meeting and greeting settlers along the way, as well as befriending some of the Indians, while fearing for his life from others, Indians and settlers.
Paint to Music at Glaze 2 Amaze, Thursday, January 24 from 6:30-8:00 pm. Joy Ciaffoni and Mary Aalgaard, who have started the Primo Art Spa to assist artists in the area, will be performing live music while you paint a plate and find out what kind of music brings out your red, blue, lemon, or your spice. Using a plate as a palate, you will create art that serves up memory, emotion, and delicious inspiration. You can use it as a plate for special occasions, a gift, or a memory piece for someone you love. Glaze 2 Amaze is located at 706 Laurel Street in Brainerd.
When you go to see "Pinocchio" at the Children's Theatre in Minneapolis, you might think that they aren't ready for you, yet. The set is paint cloths and scaffolding, with buckets and brushes lying around. The actors are in work clothes and seem distracted until you arrive with your energy and eagerness to watch them tell a story. They look at you. They listen to your cries to tell the story, and they hear you taking in your breath as the magic unfolds. They hear your giggles and encourage you to help Pinocchio on his way.
"The Biggest Little House in the Forest" is a puppet show that invites in even the youngest theatre fans. From babies to Grandparents, the show delights kids of all ages. When you enter the theatre, you are given the chance to wear sock puppets on your feet and slide on into the performance. Autumn Ness keeps the energy and story alive as she tells the tale of Bernice the Butterfly and how she welcomes all her new friends into her home.
"Buzzer" written by Tracey Scott Wilson and directed by Marion McClinton is a Pillsbury House production currently playing at the Dowling Studio at The Guthrie Theater. "Buzzer" is a contemporary play set in urban America. It has mature themes and adult language and pulls you in from the opening sentence. The characters feel like people you already know and as you're watching, you feel like you are inside the apartment ready to join in on the conversation. I give the director, Marion McClinton, credit for how well the characters interact with each other and the audience.