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Report for January 2016

2/1/2016
Report for January 2016

©GLENN LONEY 2016

PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:

At The Lucille Lortel Theatre:

Thomas Middleton & William Rowley?s THE CHANGELING [*****]

No Bull with Red-Bull Stagings: Madhouse-Scenes Strangely-Surrealistic & Hilariously-Horrifying!

O! To Be Once Again a Virgin! Medieval-Spanish-Morals & Jacobean-Gothic-Dramaturgy?

There should be a Special-Achievement-Award for the Madmen-Mask-Designs in Jesse Berger?s Stylish-Staging of Middleton & Rowley?s The Changeling!

These Strange-Constructions look like they were inspired by a Medieval-Madhouse-Scene right out of Breughel?

But, striking as the Madmen are in Action, their Madcap-Antics are only a Visual-Foil for the Major-Plot, centered on a seemingly Virtuous-Virgin, Beatrice-Joanna [Sara Topham], who enlists an Ugly, Loathsome Monster, De Flores [Manoel Feliciano], to kill the Bridegroom she should marry.

Oddly enough, but entirely Appropriate to the Gothic-Humors of Jacobean-Tragedy, Beatrice falls deeper & deeper in Illicit-Love with De Flores.

Unfortunately, Beatrice has lost her Maidenhead in a Lustful-Encounter, so she invokes some Strange-Strategems to convince others of her Virginal-Purity.

The Fictional-Scene is Spanish-Alicante & the Drama opens with a Ritually-Formal-Dance in a Hallowed-Church, which contrasts sharply with the Madhouse-Capers?

A Changeling could be, for example, an Ugly-Dwarf, left in the Cradle by a Malicious-Witch or Sorceress.

This is a Favorite-Motif of Fairy-Tales, but Middleton?s Changeling is more Metaphoric, as Beatrice herself becomes Changed, Transformed by her Lusts & Passions.

The Doomed & Damned-Affair of Beatrice & De Flores can also be seen as a Dark-Inversion of the Fable of Beauty & The Beast?

Jacobean-Drama may often seem like Shakespeare-Corrupted, but Post-Elizabethan-Audiences were never disappointed if they longed for Visual-Horrors & Forbidden-Pleasures.

For those who haven?t made it their Life?s-Work to know all about Jacobean & Carolingian-Playwriting, Jacob refers to King James I, while Charles I gave his Name to Carolingian-Excesses, following which the Puritans?or Round-Heads, under The Lord-Protector, Oliver Cromwell?Suppressed-the-Stage.

Those Theatre-Scholars who prefer Restoration & 18th-Century Dramas & Comedies often look askance at the Jacobean-Gothic-Output.

As for Restoration-Drama, the Restoration refers not to the Re-Opening of the Playhouses, but to the Restoration of the Monarchy, under King Charles II, who so loved the Theatre that he made Nell Gwynn?a Leading-Actress?his Mistress.

Bernard-Shaw has written an amusing play about this Libertine-Era: In Good King Charles? Golden Days.

The Red Bull has earned a justly-deserved Reputation for Outstanding-Period-Revivals, but Jesse Berger seems so Hung-Up on the Jacobean-Canon, that a number of these almost-forgotten Texts are briefly brought back to Life in Readings.

The Bullish-Program-Notes point out that few Jacobean-Tragedies are set in Spain, which was then widely-regarded by English as a Sinkhole-of-Depravity.

But then Relations between Spain & England had always been a bit Dicey after the Defeat of the Spanish-Armada.

Nonetheless, Henry VIII initially married Catherine-of-Aragon, before he moved on to the English-Beauty, Anne Boylen.

King James even tried to marry the Crown-Prince, Charles, to the Spanish-Infanta?

At least, we can thank him for the King-James-Bible, which has become?along with Shakespeare?s Plays?the Touchstones of Elegant-English-Eloquence.

Not to be confused with that Important-Element of the Old-Testament: The Ten-Commandments, as told to Moses?

As for Alicante, when I was last there, it was a Sleepy-Town indeed: it was, in fact, where you Took-Ship to cross the Mediterranean to reach Algiers & Morocco?

At The Big Apple Circus Tent-Theatre in [Walter] Damrosch Park:

Joel Jeske?s BIG APPLE CIRCUS: THE GRAND TOUR [*****]

Watch Out, Cirque du Soleil! All That Arty-Stuff Can?t Top Clown-Fun & Dynamite-Acts?

Dazzling-Artistry & Audience-Participation Under the Big-Top On the Orient-Express!

Yes, Virginia! There is a Circus-Ringmaster [John Kennedy Kane], but there are also Circus-Clowns [Joel Jeske & Brent McBeth], who take us on an Orient-Express-Tour of Europe & even across the Sands-of-Arabia.

Having recently returned from Saudi-Arabia, where I spent a Freezing-Night complete with Camel-Ride, I was hoping for either an Actual-Dromedary or a Clown-Camel, but No Luck?

In any case, the Rail-Line built by Lawrence-of-Arabia did not really penetrate the Arabian-Interior.

Joel Jeske is credited as Writer & Creator of this Grandly-Performed Grand-Tour.

But the Stars are its various Death-Defying-Acts: Acrobats, Jugglers, Contortionists, High-Wire & Trapeze-Artists?

Not only are there No Camels, there are No Circus-Ponies, nor Lions, Tigers, & Bears?

Fortunately, Jenny Vidbel has some Wonderful Trained-Canines who are a Doggy-Delight-to-Watch!

Among the Outstanding-Acts are Sergey Akimov, with his Aerial-Straps; Alexander Koblikov, with his Juggled-Balls; Chiara Anastasini, with her Fantastic-Profusion of Hula-Hoops, & Erick & Jayson Dominguez, with their Wheel-of-Wonder!

Audience-Participation was Best-Achieved with Musical-Chairs, with Ringmaster & Clowns trying to Out-Fox the Canny-Kidz.

Way back in 1977, I interviewed Paul Binder, the Founder of Big-Apple-Circus.

Paul had been very impressed by the Spartan-Effectiveness of Europe?s One-Ring-Circuses.

Forget about PT Barnum?s American-Improvements: No Three-Rings, No Ringling-Brothers Five-Ring-Super-Shows!

No Equestrian-Spectacles! No Lions, Tigers, & Bears?

That is still the Rule in much of Europe: Cirkus-Krone in Munich is One-of-the-Best.

Recently, I saw Jesus Christ, Superstar stunningly-performed at Cirkus-Krone, but it was an even better Venue for The Circus-Princess!

By the way, you won?t have to go all the way out to Citi-Stadium this year for Cirque-du-Soleil!

This Innovative-Troupe will open in April on Forty-Second-Street, in the Lyric-Theatre, just vacated by Michael Flatley & Lords-of-the-Dance?

At The Big Apple Circus Tent-Theatre in Damrosch Park:

The 2nd-Annual-Celebration of American-Circus [A Family-Affair]

David Shiner Gives Bill Irwin a Circus-Award, But Hovey Burgess Is Also Honored!

This was a kind of Family-Love-Affair, sponsored by Circus-Now & the Big-Apple-Circus.

There was a lot of Funny-Fooling-Around, but some of the Awardees didn?t know when to bring their Read-Aloud-Printed-Remarks to a Timely-Conclusion.

Nonetheless, one looks forward to the 3rd-Annual-Celebration of American-Circus!

In Journalism 101-A at UC/Berkeley, we were cautioned that you should never refer to such Celebratory-Events?in their Inceptions, Inaugurations, or Beginnings?as the 1st-Annual-Anything?

This is an Exercise-in-Optimism: Who knows whether there will be Second-Annual?

At The American Airlines Theatre:

Michael Frayn?s NOISES OFF [*****]

Coarse-Acting All Over the Stage & Behind-the-Scenes: Watch Out for Those Damned-Sardines!

This Rehearsal & Performance-Disaster is always Sure-Fire as an Audience-Pleaser.

The Potential-Problem is that it is not easy to do what the Brits call "Coarse-Acting.?

Indeed, at the Outset of this Hilarious-Revival at the American-Airlines-Theatre?No Inflight-Meals Served!?the Otherwise-Excellent-Cast seemed to be Trying-Too-Hard.

Thanks to Playwright Frayn, Director Jeremy Herrin, & Set-Designer Derek McLane, we find ourselves looking at what seems to be a Mock-Up of a Traditional-English-Mock-Tudor-Mansion.

It is, of course, only a Stage-Setting, but the Stage-Fiction is that it is owned by a Married-Couple of Tax-Fugitives who are now Living-Abroad, but who have just sneaked-back for a Weekend-at-Home.

Unfortunately for them?but not for Us, the Insatiable-Audience?the Mansion has just been let to Another-Couple for a Weekend-of-Sexual-Fun.

This is, effectually, one of those French-Farces with Many-Doors to Open & Close at Awkward-Moments.

Only we are in England, not in Gay-Paree?

Actually, Act-One is being rehearsed on the stage of the Grand-Theatre, Weston-super-Mare, where Mrs. Clackett?or is it Plackett??makes her Entrance with a Plate-of-Sardines, which are Central to much of the Fun, including Dropped-Trousers & Slippery-Sliding with Rubber-Legs on Sardine-Oil that has dripped onto the ?Boards.?

Act-Two occurs at the Theatre-Royal, Ashton-under-Lynne, where we get to see the Play-in-Motion, only from Backstage!

Where Everything-Goes-Wrong?

"Noises-Off? refers, of course, to a typically British-Stage-Direction.

Not only are there plenty of Noises-Off, but also lots of Agonized-Noises On-Stage.

Our Fictional Stage-Director, having, as he fondly believes, finished his work with the Oddly-Matched-Cast of Nothing-On, the Fictional-Comedy being presented, is now rehearsing Richard III, but, unfortunately, his Leading-Man has a Bad-Back!

Act-Three?remember when we always had Three-Acts??plays in the Municipal-Theatre of Stockton-on-Tees.

Yes, Virginia! They really do have Towns in Britain with Names-Like-That!

Among the Cast-Luminaries are Andrea Martin, Campbell Scott, David Furr, Megan Hilty, Tracy Chimo, Kate Jennings Grant, Daniel Davis, Rob McClure, & Jeremy Shamos.

This Show is an Apt-Capstone for the Roundabout-Theatre?s 50th-Season!

At least, the Roundabout?s Artistic-Director, Todd Haines, didn?t choose No Sex, Please! We?re British!

At The Pearl Theatre:

C. S. Lewis? THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS [****]

Donald Trump Should Love Screwtape?or at least Admire the Admirable Max McLean!

He Is Dedicated to Creating Theatre with a Christian-Worldview?Just Right for C. S. Lewis?

God may well be In-The-Details, but there?s Devilish-Fun to be had watching Brent Harris sketch-out a Broader-Picture as Screwtape, the Abysmal-Sublimity to Satan Himself.

Essentially, this is a Letter-Play, based on C. S. Lewis? Screwtape Letters, a collection of Imagined-Correspondence between his Imagined-Sub-Devil, Screwtape, & Screwtape?s Wayward-Apprentice-Devil, also his Nephew, Wormwood, doing the Devil?s-Duty on Terra-Infirma above.

This is far-off from The Chronicles of Narnia, nor is it anywhere near Lion, Witch, & Wardrobe Territory.

As translated to the Christian-Stage by Max McLean?but intended for Diverse-Audiences!?the McLean-Version is, in essence, a Solo-Drama, but it is made more Visually-Arresting by the Manic-Cavortings of Screwtape?s Servant, Toadpipe, fantastically-costumed but Strangely-Stifled in Squeals.

Previously, on this Very-Same-Stage, Max McLean had given us C. S. Lewis? The Great Divorce, which was also a Great-Production.

Metaphorically Waiting-in-the-Wings are C. S. Lewis Onstage: The Most Reluctant Convert & Martin Luther On Trial, which complete a kind of Christian-Quartette in this, the FPA?s Inaugural-New-York-Season.

Years & Years Ago, FPA stood for Franklin Pierce Adams, whose Conning-Tower was a Beloved-Staple of Manhattan-Criticism.

Who now remembers Franklin Pierce Adams?

Or, for that matter, Brendan Gill, longtime Drama-Critic of The New-Yorker?

As the Germans say: Vom Winde Verweht? Stolen from Margaret Mitchell?s Gone With The Wind.

Max McLean?s FPA, however, is Christian-Code for his Fellowship-for-Performing-Arts, which creates Theatre from a Christian-Worldview.

Nothing at all to do with Neal Gabler?s Jews-in-Hollywood Saga?

As for Muslim-Theatre? What Theatre? The Prophet forbade all Reproductions of The Human-Form, even of Camels,

The Arabic-Artistic-Impulse was limited to Calligraphy & fiercely-intricate Geometric-Designs.

Or to Story-Telling: How about A Thousand & One Nights?

You would have to buy a Thousand-Tickets!

Or Terminate Scheherizade?

I do look forward to Martin Luther On Trial, for this famous exercise in Christian-Judicial-Wisdom took place at the Unfortunately-Named Diet-of-Worms.

Worms, like Mainz & K?ln [Cologne], has a Great-Medieval-Cathedral, just the right Christian-Arena in which to try Apostasy, Heresy, & Protestants?

Luther was Lucky that he did not go to Rome to Plead-His-Cause: The-Holy-Roman-&-Apostolic-Church was, at that time, Burning-Heretics!

You think that Religiously-Inspired ISIS is Bad?

How about Centuries of the Holy-Inquisition?

The Grand-Inquisitor didn?t like Mohammedans or Jews any more than Donald Trump, some of whose Real-Estate-Ventures must surely have had Jewish-Backing?

What is this Current-Wave of Christians-Only all about?

C.S. Lewis, if I have read him correctly, was all about Catholic-Christianity, which any Methodist can tell you is not Christ?s-Original-Message.

When the Stage-Lights went-up on Screwtape Letters, with its Ladder reaching up, not into Heaven, but into the World-Above, I realized that I?d already seen this Show somewhere Uptown, some Time Ago.

I thought it was a tad Over-Produced then & I still do?

At New World Stages:

Maurice Hines? MAURICE HINES: TAPPIN? THRU LIFE [*****]

What a Life It Has Been! With Hines? Tip-Top-Tapping, Taps Is Still Tops!

Hey! The Best-New-Musical-Show on Broadway is not on Broadway.

But this Song-&-Dance Musical-Powerhouse is Not Far: Rush over to New World Stages, just One-Block-East of Eighth-Avenue on Fiftieth!

There you can Behold, See, Hear, & maybe even Join-in with Maurice Hinds & an All-Star-Cast of Blockbusting-Musicians, Singers, & Dancers.

As the Title indicates, this is a kind of Hines-Brothers Live-Biography, because Maurice makes sure that his Tastefully-Tuneful & Dapper-Tapper Saga of a Longtime Stage-Life doesn?t omit or overlook Gregory-the-Great!

Maurice & Gregory?s Mama is always there [Scads of Vintage-Photos & Film-Clips] to push the Hines-Boys on to Stage-Success & into the Celebrity-Spotlight.

This wonderful Show was especially interesting for me because, for many years, I was?under the Editorship of Bill Como?a Contributing-Editor to Dance-Magazine, where the Hines Brothers were always admired.

But hardly a day went by that some Dancer-Reader didn?t ring-up Bill or me to ask where was the Dance-Feature that Everyone wanted to read, almost all the time: TAPS IS TOPS!

Maurice engagingly interacts with the Enthusiastic-Audience, Tapping Manically, Soft-Shoeing Slyly, Showing Slides?so-to-speak, Softly-Singing Old-Favorites, & introducing some Dynamic-Dance-Duos: The Manzari Brothers & the Teen-Age-Titans, Devin & Julia Ruth.

Maurice & his Tapping-Tyros are blazingly, blaringly, brilliantly-backed by Sherrie Maricale & The Diva Jazz-Orchestra. Everyone of this Jazzy-Combo is also a Solo-Star!

Maurice Hines appears in a Sequence of Stunning-Costumes, the designs of T. Tyler Stumpf, while his Stairway-to-Heaven Stage-Setting is the handiwork of Tobin Obst.

Jeff Calhoun staged with style, keeping all that Jazz Singing, Playing, & Tapping along?

This is a Show I wouldn?t mind seeing again & again.

Many a Broadway-Show, when you have seen it & reported on it: That?s It.

Until Nomination-Season, of course?

At The CSC or Classic Stage Company:

Bertolt Brecht?s MOTHER COURAGE [***]

Black-Lives-Matter, But Why Show Them as War-Hungry Buffoons, Louts, & Lay-Abouts,

Or Money-Crazed Camp-Followers, Engaged in an Endless-War in the Congo or Wherever?

Surely, Your Arts-Reporter must be the Only-Member of Any-Audience down at the CSC?studying the African-Americanization of Bert Brecht?s fiercely Anti-War-Polemic: Mutter-Courage?who actually knew Brecht & his Greatest Courage, also his wife, Helena Weigel?

Brecht would have hated this Odd-Production.

In fact, he hated & denounced Mother Courage productions that were not staged in accordance with the Photo-Documentations of his own Berliner-Ensemble stagings.

These are preserved in his Model-B?cher, or Model-Books.

Unfortunately, for Brecht-Directors in the West, during the Cold-War, the Model-Books were printed in East-Berlin, in East-Germany, access to which, after the Berlin-Wall went-up in 1961, was drastically-curtailed.

My Good-Fortune?as a Roving-Reviewer-Reporter for The Christian-Science-Monitor?was to have Journalistic-Access all over the Warsaw-Pact-Area.

The Creation of the Model-Books puzzled me: Why?

As a Consummate Man-of-Theatre, didn?t Brecht himself realize that any Drama, to have an On-Going Stage-Life, would need to Change-with-the-Times?

Somehow, Brecht seemed Stuck-in-the-Past: His Greatest-Work, Galileo, was, itself, firmly-rooted in the Renaissance-Past.

Certainly also the Case with Mother Courage, which is set in the Thirty-Years-War?not to be confused with the Forty-Years-War or the Hundred-Years-War?

Mother Courage is a Money-Hungry Camp-Follower who follows various Catholic-vs-Protestant Battles with her Hand-Drawn Canvas-Cart, scrounging Battlefields & selling what she can salvage to the Highest-Bidder.

Courage is accompanied by her Fatherless-Children, the teenage-boy, Eilif, a younger brother, Swiss-Cheese, & her younger Mute-Daughter, Kattrin.

No Good comes to them, but Courage is All-for-Herself, a Jaundiced-Eye always on the Main-Chance.

For Bert Brecht, Mother Courage was not only an Indictment of our Never-Ending-Wars, but also of a Major-Failure of Humanity?

This would not have been understood during the Thirty-Years-War, but, even in Brecht?s Cold-War East-Berlin Enforced-Isolation, it was also not understood. Truly, it was not understood either East or West.

It is admirable that CSC?s Moving-Spirit, Brian Kulick?who also staged Mother Courage?has been moved to attempt a Revival of some of the Brecht-Canon, at a time when Brecht has been largely forgotten.

Kullick believes that Mother Courage is Brecht?s Greatest-Work, whereas that Honor clearly belongs to Galileo.

If Kulick truly honors Bert Brecht & his Dramatical-Political Socialist-Realist Parade-of-Plays, he might try to leave them In-Context?including the Original-Music which Brecht explicitly chose for these dramas, Songs being an important way, Brecht thought, of reaching the Untutored-Masses.

Trendy Modern-Directors?especially in Opera-Land?have been infected with an Updating-Virus, as though they believe Modern-Audiences are Too-Stupid to Make-Connections between Then & Now.

Moving Mother Courage from Ancient-Austrian Slaughter-Houses to Angola, Congo, or Rwanda doesn?t increase its Relevance nor enhance its Emotional-Power.

Which may be a Reason why Tonya Pinckins?Kulick?s Original Courage?withdrew during Preview-Performances.

All the Actors on stage Give-it-their-All, but it?s hard not to see Vestiges of Racial-Stereotyping, here & there, now & then.

Kecia Lewis?who took-over from Pinckins on a Moment?s-Notice?is Admirable, Powerful, & Strangely-Moving

Even still On-Book, Lewis made this seem built-into the Character. Actually, this is a Touch of which Brecht might well have approved.

It is, in effect, a Verfremdungs-Effekt, or Alienation-Effect.

Brecht wanted to prevent his Audiences from getting caught-up in Actions & Emotions; He wanted them to Keep-Their-Distance & Learn something from what they were seeing?

In fact, some of his Dramas are called Lehrst?cke, or Teaching-Pieces.

My Favorite Military-Adventurer was Kevin Mambo as The Cook.

War-Is-Hell, but there may well be a Play in It? How about War & Peace?

At The Brooks Atkinson Theatre:

Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik?s Musical-Version of Frank Wedekind?s SPRING AWAKENING [*****]

Deaf-West?s Liquid-Sign-Language Becomes Haunting-Choreography

In Dark-Fantasy of Prussian-Era-Repression of Troubled-Teens Awakening To First-Loves?

As imagined by Director Michael Arden, Choreographer Spencer Liff, & Designer Dane Laffrey, Growing-Up in Victorian/Wilhelmian-Germany was a Religio-Familio-Educational Obstacle-Course.

This was my Second-Visit & I admired & enjoyed the Production & Performances even more than Last-Fall.

The Individual & Ensemble-Embodiments of Moritz, Wendla, Melchior, Martha, & their Teen-Age-Friends were both Magical & Tormented.

Not to Overlook the Deaf-Signed & the Vocal-Evocations of the Adults, Parents, & Tormentors of the Junglings, included the Powerful Patrick Page, who Speaks for Five-Unvoiced-Actors.

When Sprlng Awakening opened Last-Fall, I was, then as now, Blown-Away, both by the Frenetic-Action & the Evocative-Songs,

But I was also puzzled that this Brilliant-Broadway-Musical was Doomed to a Limited-Run.

After the Show, Patrick Page walked by Our-Bus-Stop to Our-Huzzahs, only to explain that the Brooks Atkinson Theatre was already Booked for Another-Production, beyond its Current-Closing-Date?

So here?s My-Nomination for Most-Outstanding-Production, as well as for a number of Individual-Awards, come Season?s-End!

The Irish Repertory Company At The DR2 Theatre:

Nobel-Preistr?ger Seamus Heaney?s THE BURIAL AT THEBES [*****]

Charlotte Moore?s Stark-Staging of Bitter-End of the Doomed-Oedipus-Family Is Strongly-Stirring:

Oedipus, The Proud-Greek-King Who Murdered His Father & Married His Own Mother,

Siring Antigone, Ismene, Eteocles, Polynikes in the Seven-Gated-City-of-Thebes?

Were Charlotte Moore able to stage, say, The Seven Against Thebes or Oedipus-Rex or Antigone in the Ancient-Greco-Roman-Theatre at Epidaurus?with its Vast-Expanse of Semi-Circular-Orchestra, separating Audiences-of-Hundreds from the Catastrophic-Actions on the Elevated-Stage?her Current-Production of Seamus Heaney?s Burial at Thebes wouldn?t be quite so In-Your-Face.

Some Dramatic-Distancing would not be Out-of-Order?

Nonetheless, her Burial-at-Thebes Cast flinches at nothing, forced to be so Up-Front with their Passionate & Destructive-Confrontations.

Hubris, or Excessive-Pride, was often the Fatal-Flaw that brought-down Mythic-Greek-Kings & Stalwart-Heroes.

Certainly, Aeschylus, Sophocles & Euripides demonstrated that Forcefully & Poetically in their Classic-Trilogies, premiered in Attic-Antiquity. But still stirring Powerful-Emotions even Today?

Irish Nobel-Prize-Winner Seamus Heaney has certainly done that for Modern-Audiences, with Charlotte Moore & her Outstanding-Irish-Inflected-Acting-Ensemble bringing the Heaney-Version of the Oedlpean-Tragedy to a Definitive-Ending.

As the Defiant, Death-Doomed Antigone, Rebekah Brockman is both Wrathful & Radiant, with the Fire-Breathing-Creon of Paul O?Brien seen as a Raging-Monarch, who does Not-Understand-Himself nor His-Corrosive-Power.

But First, a Word from Our-Ancestors: In Ancient-Athens, every Spring, there was a Ritual-Celebration, Honoring the Gods, Renewing the Dedication of the Polis to its City & to its Mythic-Totems, culminating in the Contest of Trilogies in the Theatre-of-Dionysus.

There were No-Long-Runs in the Theatre-of-Dionysus.

Each Spring, Three-Major-Playwrights would Contend, presenting Three-Trilogies-of-Tragedies, topped-off with a Bawdy-Satyr-Play, so you wouldn?t go home to your Stuffed-Grape-Leaves & Ouzo, feeling really Zapped-Out?

The Major-Contenders were Aeschylus, Sophocles, & Euripides, who would have to conceive & concoct New-Trilogies next year.

There were No-Repeat-Performances in Athens. Really Powerful-Plays went "On-the-Road? to Corinth & other Great-Greek-Cities.

Unfortunately, many of the Tragedies did not survive: there were No-Printing-Presses in Athens or Sparta?

Try Carving an Entire-Trilogy in Stone!

What Seamus Heaney has achieved in Burial at Thebes is to Modernize the Final-Tragedy in the Oedipus-Cycle, the Antigone.

Classic-Backgrounder: A Terrible-Plague has fallen on Seven-Gated-Thebes. King Oedipus, eager to Protect-His-People, sends to the Oracle-at-Delphi for some Explanations & Possible-Cures.

Guess-What? Oedipus is The Problem!

Some years ago, he came to Thebes, after killing an Angry-Old-White-Man, who would not get out of his way, at a Place where Three-Roads-Met.

The City & the Polis are Kingless when he arrives, so he Marries the Old-King?s-Widow, Jocasta, & has Two-Sons [Eteokles & Polynikes] & Two-Daughters [Antigone & Ismene].

When it is Revealed that Oedipus is the King-Killer & has Married-His-Own-Mother, he tears out his Eyes, becoming a Blind-Oedipus-Outcast.

The Oedipal-Son, Eteokles, assumes the Kingship-of-Thebes, but his Brother, Polynikes, comes to De-Throne him, which Aeschylus depicts in The Seven Against Thebes, a Tragedy now Lost?

Today, it sounds like a Quentin-Tarrantino-Film, but Seven-Come-Against-Thebes, led by the Jealous & Disenfranchised-Brother, Polynikes.

Rather than have a Mass-Slaughter, the Angry-Brothers elect to Duel-It-Out?but both Eteokles & Polynikes are slain.

Uncle Creon takes over, but he is Not-a-Winner, being infatuated with his Sudden-Power.

Creon decrees Burial-Honors for Eteokles but not for Polynikes, whose Body is Left-to-Rot on the Open-Plain.

He also issues an Edict: No-One is to seek to Honor the Corpse of Polynikes, on Pain-of-Death.

The Fiercely-Brave Antigone is determined to at least Strew some Theban-Dust on his Rotting-Body.

Creon, when he discovers what Antigone has done, Decrees that she shall be Buried-Alive.

Even though Antigone was slated to marry Creon?s Only-Son, Hamon?

Things do Not-Turn-Out-Well for Anyone, but then this is a Greek-Tragedy, isn?t it?

I was so moved by this Irish-Rep-Staging that I wrote Charlotte Moore an Aged & Extensive-Outpouring, which I will share here:

Greco-Kudos & Extravagant-Thanks for your Powerfully-Stark-Production of The Burial at Thebes!

I think Seamus Heaney would himself have been Deeply-Moved by what you & your Splendid-Cast have Brought-To-Throbbing-Life in a Much-Smaller-Arena than that of the Theatre-of-Dionysus, the Odeon-of-Herodes-Atticus, or especially that of the Greco-Roman Theatre-of-Epidaurus?

As a Dedicated-Student of Attic-Theatre at UC/Berkeley, I was always Transfixed when Re-Reading or Re-Living the Oedipus-Saga.

As University-Theatre Lighting-Director, I worked through many Rehearsals but fewer Performances of Our Own Oedipus-Trilogy.

Always Watch-Out for Places-Where-Three-Roads-Meet!

Robert Frost only had to worry about Two-Roads-Diverging, so he Took-the-Highroad, unlike the Unfortunate-Oedipus.

When I was first introduced to Oedipus & Jocasta, little did I think that One-Day I would actually be living in Colonus or Kolonaki?where Oedipus Took-Leave of This-World.

My Upper-Class-Elitist-Greek-Cousins lived in Psychico.

And what was I doing in Athens anyway?

As an Overseas-&-Underpaid University-of-Maryland-Professor, I had been promised London/South-Ruislip-AFB after a Boring-Stint in the Midlands at Burtonwood-AFB, which did, however, give me the Opportunity to go over to Liverpool, where the Unfortunately-Blacklisted Sam Wanamaker had created the Liverpool-Shakespeare-Company.

Much later, I began working with Sam on His-Dream-Creation of the Globe-Theatre-III. You will find the GLENN LONEY Brick on the Threshold of Door-Three?

Unfortunately for both Maryland & the ARAMCO-Americans at Dhahran in Sa?udi-Arabia, Our-Degree-Program there had collapsed Five-Years-Previous.

College-Park had sent out a Bachelor-Prof who had a Drinking-Problem.

Of course, Alcohol?even though the Word-Itself is of Arabic-Derivation or Declension, as in Al-Co-Halu, or something like that?is Forbidden in the Desert-Kingdom.

HoHoHo! This Pass-Out-Prone-Prof somehow Found some of the Elixir-of-Middle-America, Closet-Distilled by American-Dependent-Wives?

So I was Ordered?on a Day?s-Notice?to Prepare-for-Departure to the Arabian-Peninsula.

I immediately Entrained for Kings-Cross, to get an Israeli-Visa in my otherwise Pristine-Passport.

Twenty-Four-Hours-Later, I was in possession of a Brand-New-US-Passport?with a Sa?udi-Visa & I was being escorted onto a Sa?udi-Airliner, bound for Muslim-Lifestyles such as the Month-Long-Fast of Ramadan?

But I had Made-a-Deal: by Losing-Out on London, I would be permitted?in addition to my Regular-Classes of Public-Speaking & English-Comp?to go on to Athens & teach those Courses at Athenai-AFB, but also Greek-Drama-in-Translation, Downtown at the US-Embassy, on Syntagma-Square.

My Very-Good-Luck was to have enlisted Mme. Katina Paxinou come to Our-Maryland-Classes & Host-Us at Epidaurus when she was playing Medea & when Hubby Alexis Minotis was Impersonating Prometheus & Other-Pantheonic-Personalities.

During World-War-II?when the Nazis had Invaded & Occupied Greece?Paxinou was Acting-in-Hollywood, in such Epics as For Whom The Bell Tolls, or was it The Sun also Rises?

Anyway, something with Gary Cooper in it?

I was also reporting for The Christian-Science-Monitor, so that Much-Respected-Connection introduced me to the Minister-of-Antiquities, who permitted Our-Class, on Full-Moon-Nights, to Read-Aloud our Week?s-Plays on the Steps-of-the-Parthenon!

Even though it was Closed-After-Sundown, I had a Special-Key.

The Minister also made it possible for me to visit Closed-Archeological-Sites & photograph the Excavations-in-Progress, on the Condition that I not use the Photos until the Professional-Results had been Published.

That Summer?while Jack Kennedy was back in the White-House, having a Desk-Work-Out with Judith Exner?Jackie Kennedy had come to Piraeus on the Yacht of Aristotle Onassis.

This was a Private-Holiday, not an Embassy-Visit, but Jackie was given a Grand-Tour of the National-Museum, to which I was invited, on the Condition that I not Say-a-Word to Mrs. JFK, not yet "Jackie-O.?

When we came to the Heinrich-Schliemann-Case that held the Golden-Crowns of Agamemnon & Clytemnestra?as Schliemann fondly-believed, having excavated them at Mykenae/Argos?King Paul opened the Case & loosened a Golden-Leaf from Clytemnestra?s-Crown, giving it to Mrs. Kennedy.

I was Aghast, but the Minister later took me down to the Basement where they had a Big-Box of Golden-Leaves.

He also arranged for me to go on Special-Digs in Krete, at Knossos & Phaestos, where they had the Bull-Dancing Millennia-Ago?

My Athens-Drama-Classes were so successful that I was then allowed to teach Classic & Modern-German-Drama [in Translation] in Munich!

As well as Public-Speaking & English-Comp & My-First-Book, Briefing & Conference-Techniques, begun in Verdun, France, & completed in Dhahran, but now a Course-Credit-Class because no one knew How-to-Brief.

Anyway, they liked the Greek-Classes & the Paxinou/Minotis-Connection so much that I was invited back in !961, when I was already a CUNY-Prof, no longer Subservient to College-Park.

Some Semesters later, Peter Brook brought his Royal-Shakespeare Midsummer-Night?s-Dream to BAM & then on to Broadway.

I was Commissioned-to-Create The Official-RSC-Authorized-Acting-Edition of Peter Brook?s Production of William Shakespeare?s A Midsummer-Night?s-Dream.

In the World-Tour, Robert Langdon Lloyd played Puck/Philostrate. Can this be the same Robert Langdon Lloyd who is now playing Blind-Tiresias?

For-the-Record, this Illustrated-Production-Book was followed by the one I did for the Jim Dale/Frank Dunlop SCAPINO?

Anyway, Thanks to You & Your Wonderfully-Irish-Inflected-Cast for giving us a Good-Dose of Creon?s-Fatal-Hubris & Enlightening-Exposure to the Unavoidable-Agonies of a Radiant-Antigone!

Other-Voices, Other-Agonies?

I once went to the Cornish-Seaside?or was it in Wales??where that Irish-Scourge, Sean O?Casey, was living In-Retirement. What a Day!

But Too-Late to talk to John Millington Synge: His Riders had already gone Down-to-the-Sea?

When I went to Coole, to look at the Estate of Augusta, Lady Gregory, it was Closed. But they let me look at her Horse-Barn.

As I mentioned, This Summer was the First-Time I?d gone North to Belfast, although Siobhan McKenna had long-ago urged me to make the Journey.

They were having Three-Performances of Turandot, which would accommodate All the Bally-Fastians who would be Remotely-Interested in Bogus-Chinese-Opera.

Giant?s-Causeway was Amazing & Awesome. So was Old-Bushmills, but in a Quite-Different-Way.

In LONDON-DERRY, they had smutted-out the LONDON, but the House-End-Murals are Not-To-Be-Believed!

I went to County-Longford to find the Tombstone of my Great-Grandfather, "Orange-Billy? Loney.

No Luck: Too Much Lichen! Not Any Loneys Left?

LA-Times Drama-Critic Danny Sullivan used to urge me to get an Irish-Passport, but I doubt Dublin would Go-Wild over an "Orange-Billy? Descendant.

My Grandfather, Thomas Loney, born in County-Longford, in 1834, arrived in the Gold-Mines of Grass Valley in 1856, so I am at least the Scion of an Authentic-California-Pioneer.

In fact, I won The Native-Sons-of-the-Golden-West Oratory-Contest Two-Years-in-a-Row?

At The Atlantic Theatre Company:

Dominique Morisseu?s SKELTON CREW [*****]

Robotic-Factory-Worker or Stop-Motion-Choreography?

This Is Visually-Evocative, But Not The Basic-Problem for Detroit-Auto-Workers

Who Are Faced with Factory-Closures, Family-Issues, & Pride-Barriers?

We seem to be in a kind of Locker-Room, with a Time-Clock Check-in & Fridge, Coffee-Maker & Microwave, but the distinctive Atlantic-Program notes that we are actually in Detroit, at an Automobile-Factory that is in Danger of Closing?

There are a Number of Lockers & Time-Cards, but the only Actual-Workers that we ever see are Faye [Lynda Gravatt], Dez [Jason Dirden], Shanita [Nikiya Mathis], & Reggie [Wendell B. Franklin].

A Skeleton-Crew indeed!

Reggie represents Management, which is often a Wedge between African-American-Workers who should be supporting each other.

This is not a Script that can be cast "Color-Blind.?

Their Factory is not one of the Big-Three, but one of the Smaller-Factories that have supported the Biggies.

The Reason there are not more Auto-Workers clocking-in & clocking-out is that this is a Family-Dynamic, also about the UAW, Workers?-Rights, & Civil-Rights.

The Reason there is this Jerkey-Robotic-Figure Upstage & Downstage, somewhat in the Shadows, is that he is a Figuration of the Robots who have taken-over most of the Production-Assembly-Lines.

Indeed, even before Automated-Auto-Making, Henry Ford had created a Robotic-Atmosphere for the Manufacture of the Model-T, rather than having Motor-Cars built by hand, like Old-Fashioned-Carriages.

This is a Heart-Felt Family-Drama, wonderfully inhabited by Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson?s Achingly-Human-Cast.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson?s Directorial-Credits?often August-Wilson-Oriented?are indeed impressive, but he is also an Outstanding-Solo-Performer, as well as a Tony©-Winner!

To get the Full-Effect of what Dominique Morisseau has put into Poetic-Words on stage, it is advisable to read her PLAYWIGHT?S NOTE in the Program, printed White on Red-Ground.

These are Good-People, but Auto-Industry-Titans do not care at all about Them, their Families, their Tragedies, or their Union.

Detroit couldn?t wait to move Auto-Manufacturing to Mexico & later to Asia? wherever they could Assemble-a-Chassis as Cheaply-as-Possible.

Forget about Quality or Safety?

Forget about Human-Beings, both those who Build & those who Drive American-Automobiles.

At The Harvey Theatre at BAM:

Charles L. Mee, Jr?s THE GLORY OF THE WORLD [****]

As Thomas Merton Was Fond of Saying, So Also Was Einstein, Gandhi, Luther, Bernard Shaw,

Bertrand Russell, Mother Teresa, Teresa-of-Avila, St. Thér?se-of-Lisieux, & Many, Many Others!

Whatever you may say about the Varied-Fantastical-Dramas of Charles L. Mee, Jr,?riffing on the Classics & Later Personalities [Joseph Cornell] & Effusions?Big Love is still his Best.

It was premiered years & years ago down at the Humana-Festival in Louisville, staged by Anne Bogart & her SITI-Ensemble.

This time, however, Les Waters has done the Staging-Honors for Mee & Actors-Theatre-Louisville, of which he is the Current-Artistic-Director.

As the Audience enters the Harvey at BAM, it is confronted with what appear to be Huge Unfinished Back-Walls of some kind of Odd-Space or Warehouse, with More-Spaces behind Steel-Roller-Doors.

Into this Space comes a Gaunt-Old-Man. He sits down at a Lone-Table, where he stays Silent & Unmoving for a Very-Long-Time.

It is Quite-a-Stunt that "A Man? can sit so long without Moving-a-Muscle?

This Man may well be that Catholic- Monastic-Mystic & Bread-Baking-Gethsemane-Monk, Thomas Merton, who achieved a kind of Temporal-Fame by writing The Seven-Story-Mountain, which Satirist Ira Wallack parodied as The Fourteen-Carat-Molehill.

When Man/Merton departs, AllHellBreaksLoose in this Odd-Room, suddenly Overrun by a Gaggle of somewhat Homoerotic-Gentlemen who are celebrating a Thomas-Merton-Anniversary, with Merton, of course, In-Absentia.

Stretches of the Inter-Hominem-Conversations are prefaced by: As Albert Einstein said? As Sigmund Freud said? As Someone-Famous said?

Well, You Get The Idea!

There is also a lot of Frantic Frenetic Fussing, Leaping, Jumping, Yelping, & so forth.

Also: Funny Party-Hats & a Long-Legged-Birthday-Cake.

Merton returns to an Empty-Stage to Sit-Again-Silently at the End or Close.

Our-Lady-of-Gethsemane-Monastery, where the Monks-Do-Not-Speak, but Contemplate & Meditate & Bake-Monks-Bread is just down the Road-a-Piece, so-to-speak, from Actors-Theatre-Louisville.

The Question for Some in the Funny-Hats was: Did Thomas Merton evolve into a Buddhist?

Whatever you may think about Thomas Merton?if you can even remember Who-He-Was?like the Other-Monastery-Monks down at Our-Lady-of-Gethsemane, he nevertheless baked Terrific-Bread!

Those were their Specialties: Baking-Monks-Bread & Silent-Meditation?

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: Franklin, We?ve had about enough of Louisville! Let?s drive back to Hyde-Park!

In The Morgan Library-Museum?s Upper-Room:

Various-Sources Loan Archival-Materials for WAGNER?S RING: Forging an Epic [****]

Three-Operas & a Vorspiel to Tell the Old-Norse-Tale of The-Building-of-Valhalla: Featuring The Rainbow-Bridge, Wotan, Alberich, Rhine-Maidens, Fricka, Siegfried, Fafner, Br?nnhilde, Erda, Sieglinde, Hagen, G?nther, Valkyries, Siegmund, The Waldvogel, Mime, & The Accursed-Ring?

In the Second-Floor-Exhibition-Room at the Morgan, there are now Various-Visual-Artifacts?Photos, Scores, Letters, Drawings, Programs, &&&&?which can remind us of the 26-Year-Long-Gestation of Richard Wagner?s Epic RING-Cycle, completed in 1874, but not Premiered until 1876, in a Purpose-Built Festspielhaus in Bayreuth.

In effect?complementing some Morgan-Wagner-Holdings?these Fading-Testimonies to Wagner?s-Genius are a kind of Celebration of the 1876 Bayreuth RING-Premiere, not to overlook the 1889 Met-Opera-Premiere of the Wagner RING.

But what Old-Wagner-Hands?like Your-Roving-Reporter, who has been attending Bayreuth-RINGS since 1956 & who has known all the Wagners, except Verena Wagner Lafferantz?may find more interesting is that Wall-Panel-TV-Screen, on which is projected some Major-Modern-RINGS.

In the Holy-Precincts of the Bayreuther-Festspielhaus, of course, you cannot take Photos, not even Selfies, let alone make Videos like those On-Screen at the Morgan.

This Was a Plus!

As some Perfect-Wagnerites?a Critical-Term coined by Long-Ago Music-Critic George Bernard Shaw?have to wait Ten-Years for a Performance-Ticket, the Morgan now offers them, if they come to Manhattan, a Chance to see what they have missed in some More-Recent-Stagings of The RING.

Some of the Loan-Materials are from the new Richard-Wagner-Museum, made out of Poured-Concrete, sited underneath & around Haus-Wahnfried, the Wagner-Family-Home for Decades..

Been-There; Done-That?

But Not-Yet-The-Museum!

But Every-Festival-Summer, certainly the Festspielhaus, Haus-Wahnfried, & the Baroque-Glory of the Margr?fliches-Opernhaus, which was the Original-Reason that Wagner chose Bayreuth at the Site for his Long-Dreamt-of-Wagner-Festival.

At One of MoMA?s Titus Theatres:

Debra Levine?s ALL THAT (JACK) COLE [*****]

How About Screening 18 Colorful, Dynamic Hollywood-Movie-Musicals with Dancing and/or Choreography by Jack Cole, the Unsung-Genius who gave Us Jazz-Dance or Theatre-Dance?

They don?t make Movie-Musicals like that any more: Gilda, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Eadie Was a Lady, Meet Me on Broadway, Meet Me After the Show, Three for the Show?

If you had been so lucky as to get Tix to all the Jack Cole Movie-Choreographies recently shown at MoMA, you also would have had the Good-Luck to hear LA-Dance-Critic & Cole-Expert Debra Levine outline the Astonishing Cole-Career, with Slides & Film-Clips.

On Thursday, 28 January, at MoMA, however, you would also have had a Dividend in watching & hearing Debra Levine interview Your-Roving-Reporter, who just happens to be the Researcher/Author of Unsung Genius: The Passion of Dancer/Choreographer Jack Cole.

Amazing! At 87-Years-of-Age, Glenn Loney still did not have to Use-a-Mike!

Long Out-of-Print & Never-Published-in-Its-Entirety, Unsung Genius: The Passion of Dancer/Choreographer Jack Cole will soon be available On-Line in its Complete-Text, thanks to the Hardware/Software-Genius of Scott L. Bennett, Director of the Glenn Loney ArtsArchive!

At The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre?Formerly The Plymouth Theatre:

David Mamet?s CHINA DOLL [**]

See Al Pacino Rant & Rave! Hear Al Pacino Rant & Rave! But Where Is That China Doll?

Despite a Huge-Cast of Producers, China Doll closed by Popular-Demand not long after it opened.

It was, for a while, fun to watch Al Pacino Rant & Rave, as well as to hear Al Pacino Rant & Rave!

Al not only impersonated Mickey Ross, a Large-Scale-Scoundrel, but he also inhabited Mickey?

A slim, but nicely-dressed, Christopher Dunham, as Carson, was a Kind-of-Foil for Pacino/Ross, but this was less of a Two-Hander than a One-&-a-Half-Hander.

Hollywood has not been Kind to the Former-Whiz-Kid-Playwright.

Instead of Mostly-Mamet, stick with Mostly-Mozart.

Or how about Basically-Bach, Hardly-Handel, or All-The-Telemann-You-Can-Take?

At The Fisher Theatre?s Fishman-Space at BAM:

Encompass Theatre?s THE ASTRONAUT?S TALE [*****]

Not Every Astronaut Gets To Walk on Mars! Remember Lost in the Stars?

Even if Jack Larson?s Space-Fable & Charles Fussell?s Electrifying-Score were not enough to Arrest-Attention?as animated by Director Nancy Rhodes? affecting Cast-of-Four?then the Soaring-Video-Images of the Unfolding-Endless-Cosmos seen in a Magical-Distance were certainly worth the MTA-Enabled-Journey to BAM!

This is the Non-Chaucerian-Tale of Young Abel, or Ab [Eapen Leubner], who dreams of becoming an Astronaut & Walking-on-Mars, apparently not satisfied with a Moon-Walk.

He is Visibly & Musically supported by his High-School-Sweetheart [Lianne Gennaco], a Mysterious-Peddler [Frank Basile], & a Narrator [Christopher Vettel].

Ab is No-Good at Math, which is Not-Promising for a Stint with NASA, but the Peddler gives him a Hand-Held-Device which will do the Maths for him!

Unfortunately, as with the Challenger, not every Lift-Off reaches NASA-Nirvana?

So, What Comes After?

As we are all made of the same Atomic-Energies that were at work in the Big-Bang, we must be subsumed again into the Cosmos?

Anyway, Ab isn?t going to a Catholic or Protestant-Heaven & certainly not to a Muslim-Paradise?

The Excellent-Mini-Orchestra, led by Nicholas DeMaison, was a shade too-close to the Action, but the Fishman-Space in no way resembles Infinite-Space. Much Larger than an Aquarium, however?where you might find some Fishman-Fishes?

But where do Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Zoroastarians, Muslims, & Hindus go when their Mortal-Remains have ceased to Live, Move, & Have-Their-Being, as Mary Baker Eddy was fond of saying, notably in Science & Health, with Key To The Scriptures?

When I was writing for The Christian Science Monitor, I asked the Same-Question of My-Editor, who was on the Board-of-Lectureship at the Mother-Church in Boston.

He gave me a Fuzzy-Answer: Something about returning to the Universal-Mind?

Another Bostonian, Ralph Waldo Emerson, had already Identified that Destination. Emerson called it The Over-Soul, where All-Wisdom resides?

Lucky for Ab that he didn?t Crash-Land in front of the Mother-Church!

Years & Years Ago, I was an Encompass-Regular & a Great-Fan of Nancy Rhodes, who was at that time digging-around & discovering Forgotten-Operas such as Heinrich M?rschner?s Der Vampyr [The Vampire], which even German-Opera-Experts had forgotten.

Considering our Current-Interest in Zombies & Undead-Politicians, perhaps it?s time for Nancy to bring back Der Vampyr?

At that time, I was reporting & reviewing for Opera News, Opera Monthly, Opera, & Opern-Heute, so I was often at the Opera, including the Late Lamented New-York-City-Opera, under Maestro Julius Rudel.

I alerted my Old-Friend & Noted-British-Music-Critic Andrew Porter?then Chief-Music-Honcho at The New Yorker?who was amazed, not only at the Work-Itself, but also what Nancy & Company had been able to do with it in a Small-Space & Limited-Resources.

The Major-Problem is that it Costs-Real-Money to stage a work like The Astronaut?s Tale, which cannot, in the Nature-of-Things, have a Long-Run.

Bring Back Small-Scale Affordable-Opera!

At The Bohemian National Hall:

The Czechoslovak-American-Marionette-Theatre Presents:

THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY: DVOŘ?K IN AMERICA [In-Previews]

Take The-Grand-Tour Around America in the Late-Nineteenth-Century with Tony!

Far-Away From Prague & The Austro-Hungarian-Monarchy, Bohemia?s Beloved-Composer

Samples Afro-American Rhythms, Native-American-Chants & The 1893 Chicago-Worlds-Fair!

My Most-Favorite Small-Scale Theatre-Experience is a Mini-Production of Vit Horejs? Czechoslovak-American-Marionettes.

These Mini-Actors are Hand-Crafted by an Old-Bohemian-Master, but they need to be seen Up-Close in a Mini-Marionette-Theatre.

Unfortunately for the Racks. Bunches, & Clutches of Vit?s Mini-Marionettes, they have to be more or less Sidelined to make way for the Triumphal-American-Tour of the Czech-Composer Antonin Dvoř?k.

Dvoř?k came to America & lived & worked in Manhattan, where he Conducted & Composed?notably his New World Symphony.

But this Major-Epic was not Verdi or Wagner-Inflected: it took its Cues, Themes, Styles, Phrases from Native-American, Afro-American, & Euro-American Tunes, Hymns, Chants.

To Honor Antonin Dvoř?k, the Czechoslovak-American-Marionettes are now taking us on a Reprise of Dvoř?k?s American-Journey, with a Major-Stop in Chicago for the Great-Columbian-Exposition, which was an Overblown-Architectural-Salute to the 1492-Arrival-of-Chris-Columbus, who, as is Well-Known, did not Dock-in-Chicago?

The Live-Actors?who Sizably-Upstage the Tiny-Czech-Tots?are Excellent, but some of them are a Bit-Too-Busy. They give us Too-Much-Information?

Fortunately for the Czechoslovak-American-Marionettes?as THE NEW WORLD SYMPHONY: DVOR?K IN AMERICA is still In-Previews?some Pruning & Editing would not be Amiss.

The Berlin-Wall came crashing down in 1989, which freed Vaclav Havel & his Fellow-Bohemians & Moravians from Soviet-Era/Warsaw-Pact Domination.

This also gave the Long-Suffering-Slovaks the Opportunity to become a Separate-Nation, with its Capital in Bratislava, formerly known to the Habsburgs as Pressburg.

Therefore, it is of Quixotic-Interest that Producer/Author/Director/Marionette-Master Vit Horejs still honors the Old-Order.

So, Vit! How about a Puppet-Production of The Prince of Pilsen?

We could all have some Huge-Steins of Pilsner-Urquell, Brezen, & Kartoffelkn?del?

But No Puppets in Pilsen!

The Tiny-Performers on-view at Czechoslovak-American-Marionette-Theatre are not Hand-Puppets, nor are they Marionettes on Strings.

No, Indeed! They are impaled on thin Metal-Rods which are used to animate them.

Some Professional-Puppeteers do like to call them Rod-Puppets, but not Vit Horejs!

Oddly-Enough, when I brought US-Troops from Munich on Tour to Pilsen & Prague in the Late-1950s?in "Civvies,? of course!?we always made a Bee-Line to Czech-Puppets, Laterna-Magicka, & The Black-Theatre-of-Prague.

How about The Devil & Kate at the Smetana-Theatre?

More Serious-Fare was on-tap at the Narodny-Divadlo, the National-Theatre

RAMBLES ROUND THE AUCTION-HOUSES?

At Christie?s Auction-House:

No Auction-Sales in January! No Free Latte & Biscotti! Is January Now the Cruelest-Month?

Unlike New York Art-Museums where you have to Pay-Real-Money & are Not-Permitted to take Photographs-of-the-Artworks?unless you sneak a Selfie?at Christie?s, you are always Welcome to Study, Admire, & Photograph the Major-Works-of-Art that are temporarily on its walls.

Mini-Tours are even organized when Important-Collections are on the Auction-Block!

For Bona-Fide Art-Lovers on a Small-Budget, Christie?s is a God-Send!

Where else can you closely-inspect a Multi-Million-Dollar Renaissance-Painting from the Awesome-Collection of a Multi-Billion-Dollar-Oligarch now on its way into the Awesome-Collection of another Multi-Billion-Dollar-Oligarch?

Don?t imagine that either of these Magnificent-Modern-Moguls will have an Open-House so you can study their Vermeers & Van Goghs?not to mention their Pollocks & Basquiats!

What?s More! At Christie?s, there is always Complimentary-Coffee & Free-Biscotti of Various-Shades!

So, imagine My-Distress, on dropping-by on a Robert-Frostian Cold-Winter-Day, to find the Doors-Open, but no Biscotti or Latte!

Whaaaa?

Glenn! It?s January!

Of Course! Of Course! How could I have been So-Stupid!

Why would any Seriously-Rich-Person want to stay in Manhattan when Costly-Cultural-Life & Major-Metropolitan-Galas are On-Hold?

Florida Calls! Hear the Siren-Song of The-Bahamas! How about Taos or Tucson?

Cap d?Antibes, anyone?

Nonetheless, there are always some Modern-Masterpieces on-view at Christie?s, waiting for the Next-Auction, if they did not Sell in the Last?

Worldwide, there is no Foreseeable-Shortage of Andy-Warhol-Campbell?s-Soup-Cans!

But imagine My-Surprise, on dropping-by on a Norman-Rockwellian-Cold-Winter-Day, to find the Pristine-Christie?s-Walls heavily-hung with Major-Vintage-Masterpieces!

For a Brief-Moment, I feared that the Frick-Collection was On-the-Block, to make way for a Hitherto-Unknown-Cache of Rembrandts & Renoirs!

No! No! Not even the Met-Museum would dump so many Marvelous-Masterworks on the Art-Market in One-Fell-Swoop!

Rather than have Major-Megalomaniac-Oligarchic-Collectors from China & the Former-Soviet-Union have to ramble round a Number-of-Galleries, Christie?s had invited the Gallerists to show their Best-Stuff in One-Place, but not for Auction.

By Arrangement Only?

February-First, the Latte & Biscotti were back!

At Bonhams Auction-House:

Bonhams had the Same-January-Problem as at Christie?s, but, at Bonhams [No Possessive-Apostrophe!], it is always Free-Looking, without Free-Food?

Nonetheless, you could Sneak-a-Peek at the Tall-Ship & Small-Ketch Maritime-Paintings soon to be Up-for-February-Auction.

Handsome Dogs, Hounds, & House-Pets are also On-the-Way!

You could also look at Giant-Color-Images of Hot-Vintage-Autos & Smart-Sports-Cars, slated for Auction-Sale out in Scottsdale, where the Weather is Always-Clement & there is No-Shortage of Major-Wealth & Broad-Arizona-Highways.

Wasn?t there once a Color-Photo-Laden-Magazine called Arizona-Highways?

At Sotheby?s Auction-House:

Sotheby?s Americana-Week-Auctions Rack-Up Almost 19-Million-Dollars!

Angel-Gabriel-Weathervane Sells for $1.3-Million, Which Tells You Which-Way-the-Wind-Blows?

Of course, $1.3-Million is a Monetary-Pittance, compared with the Multi-Millions some Rich-Folks will pay for a Campbell?s-Soup-Can-Canvas.

Nonetheless, you could be happy for Stephen & Petra Levin?wherever their Collectible-Souls may now be?that their Estate-Heirs will enjoy Most of the Proceeds of the Levin?s American-Beauty: American-Folk-Art-Collection, which totaled more than Five-Million-Dollars!

For The Record: Angel-Gabriel-Weathervanes are also known, for some Odd-Reason, as FAME.

To Quote from Sotheby?s Press-Release: Gabriel-Weathervanes are considered the Most-Desirable and Rare-Form in the Iconography of American-Weathervanes, and the Present-Example is Exceedingly-Rare for its Three-Dimensional-Form and Exquisite-Patina.?

The Levins had also collected a wonderful Seahorse-Molded-Copper-Weathervane, which was estimated at One-Million-Dollars, but Sotheby?s didn?t send me Complete-Sales-Results, alas?

Hidden-Glen-Farms Former-Owners Irvin & Anita Schorsch?s Auction-Sales Total $10,262,129!

This was a White-Glove-Sale of what was "?widely-considered one of the Greatest-Collections of Americana ever-assembled.?

The "Esteemed-Schorsch-Provenance? sold-out at One-Hundred-Percent & there was just Lots & Lots of It to Inspect, if not to Purchase.

I never before saw so many Needle-Point-Samplers in My-Whole-Life!

How about nearly One-Million-Dollars for an Important 1770 Burnham-Manning-Family Chippendale Carved-&-Figured Mahogany Bombé Bonnet-Top Chest-on-Chest?

For That Matter, I never before saw so many Weathervanes, Samplers, Paintings, Four-Poster-Beds, Warming-Pans, Cut-Black-Paper-Silhouettes, Fire-Dogs & Fire-Tongs, Oriental-Carpets, Toby-Jugs, & Candle-Snuffers in My-Whole-Life!

Important-Americana-Sale Totals 3.5-Million-Dollars!

How about paying $225,000 for a Bronze-Painted Cast-Zinc & Cast-Iron American-Elk Statue?

A Wooden-Bust of Benjamin Franklin?possibly Life-Sized!?brought $175,000, which is Not-Too-Much for an Image of the American-Founder who invented the Post-Office & the Public-Library & Discovered-Lightning?

Alfred Taubman?s Old-Masters Fetch Twenty-Four-Million-Dollars at Galleries He Once Owned?

Thos. Gainsborough?s The Blue Page was auctioned-off for $3.3-Million.

Raffaello Sanzio, gennant Raphael, once painted a Portrait of Valerio Belli, which also sold for $3.3-Million!

Who now remembers Valerio Belli?

Although anyone who visits the Vatican-Museum will have No -Trouble in remembering Raphael, who seems to have been Kept-Very-Busy by One of Those-Many-Christ-Annointed-Popes?

Al Taubman?s The Crowning with Thorns?painted by Valentin de Boulogne?sold for over Five-Mililon-Dollars!

That?s a Lot-to-Pay for what is, essentially, a Christian-S&M-Fantasy?

Just think of all those Centuries-of-Nuns, adoring the Almost-Naked-Body of The-Crucified-Christ, thinking Holy-Thoughts about His-Sacrifice & their Ultimate-Reward in Heaven, where they could confidently expect to behold him with All-His-Clothes-On!

If a Nun or Al Taubman or You or I die in the Twenty-First-Century & Go-Directly-To-Heaven?without having to do the Purgatory-Bypass?will we see The-Risen-Christ dressed Up-to-Date in Abercrombie-&-Fitch or Turnbull-&-Asser?

Certainly Not in Macy?s or H&M?

As we all now know: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA!

Anyway, Al Taubman once went to Jail for some sort of Price-Fixing that also involved Christie?s, but you?d have to Google-Al to find out what was involved.

Nonetheless, Al had a Good-Life & he could Eat-Upstairs at that Pricey-Café they have over at Sotheby?s.

What?s the Name? San Ambroes or something like that?

When you are the Chief-Honcho, they probably expect you to Sup in the Executive-Dining-Room anyway.

Other Sotheby?s Auction-Show-Sales Coming-Up!

Masters-Week-2016 Auction End-of-January?

Drs. Daniel & Marian Malcolm African-Art-Collection up for Spring-Sales in Paris & London?

Picasso, Matisse, & Monet To Lead London-Sale of Impressionists, Modernists, & Surrealists?

At Philips? Auction-House:

January-Lull, but the Ground-Floor-Galleries were crammed-full of Colorful-Oil-Spurts of a Canvas-Saga of Windsor-&-Newton Paint-Box-Orgasms.

Phillips?which is way-over on Park-Avenue?doesn?t Keep-Me-Posted, so I seldom get Over-There?

Picasso-Bust Now On-View at MoMA Seems To Have Been SOLD-TWICE!

Guess What!

Alice "Wal-Mart? Walton isn?t the Only-Multimillionaire-Art-Museum-Owner.

The "Richest-Walton-Daughter? has been stocking her Crystal-Springs-Museum with Major-American-Masterworks, including an Historic-Canvas from the New-York-Public-Library.

The Sheika-of-Qatar has Lots-More-Money to Spend on Multi-Art-Sites in the Qatari-Oil-Rich Arabian-Peninsula-Kingdom.

Unfortunately, La Sheika has bought Picasso?s "Important-Plaster-Bust? of Marie-Thér?se Walter, his Sometime-Muse, post Dora Maar.

Major, Major, Major-Art-Maven Larry Gagosian has also bought the Same-Sculpture, sold by one of Picasso?s Kids.

Not the Jewelry-Designer Paloma Picasso, but Maya Widmeier Picasso, who is 80-Years-Old, which may account for why she didn?t Keep-Her-Sales-Receipts?

Larry Gagosian is Not-a-Quitter, so look forward to a Big-Fight over Picasso?s Bust!

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