Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

A Midsummer Night's Dream

O faithful readers who are so patient with our radio silence, I am delighted to offer you the video evidence of our busy spring. Please enjoy all two hours and fourteen minutes of A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by me and tech directed by Darwin. If you are tracking young Darwins, look for Helena, Francis Flute, one of the fairies, and small Robin Starveling (the Moon).

This performance is our last show, in which actors were getting punchy. By Sunday afternoon I was worn to a frazzle, and as I watched things happen on stage that I'd never seen before, I thought, "I've lost control of this production." But the energy was big and fun, especially in Act 3.2, which we dubbed "the fight scene.

Theater is a temporary medium, and sometimes one feels a bit melancholy when a show is done and dismantled, never to be seen again. I'm glad to have a memento of our production, and so pleased to be able to share it with you.

Saturday, April 08, 2023

A Vita Nova

 All couples have their catch phrases.  One I remember from my parents was the oft repeated exchange, "Do you know what we need?"  "What?" "A vita nova."

Vita nova.  A new life.

It's a common enough Latin phrase.  It was the part of the motto of Mom's college: Incipit Vita Nova. A new life begins.  But the era when I remember my parents exchanging the phrase often was their middle age.  At the time, it seemed like one of those weird parental tics.  If you want to turn things over, why not do so?  Why always talking about a new life when it seemed like things were so often the same.

Middle aged myself, the exchange makes a great deal more sense.  

Here we are on Holy Saturday, the day in the tomb, looking forward to the resurrection.  I have a list of things, daily and long term.  The house needs some degree of Easter cleaning, because small people trash it with impunity every day.  And because even after I cleared out a bunch of stuff yesterday there is still the wreckage of having directed a play scattered around our house.  And I want to get a workout in, because in my 40s I'm reconning with the fact that having both profession and avocations which involve sitting (doing work on a computer, reading, writing) do not lend to a very healthy body as one approaches the point in life where one's body becomes an increasingly intrusive presence, reminding you that the point when things end on this earth will be when that body decides to stop cooperating with your will to live.  And then I have the longer term projects: the bathroom rebuild that needs to be finished. The novel that remains stubbornly unfinished for the simple reason that it will not finish itself without me sitting down to spend hours at a time on it. The articles which need to be planned and written. The children on the threshold of adulthood who need some degree of help and support and some degree of freedom as they consider educational paths and jobs and relationships which may become permanent. The career choices which seem to become more tricky as one faces the possibility that one has topped out in terms of how high a position one will hold in a company, and yet it's still another ten to twenty years till one has any prospect of stepping back.

All these things suggest a great deal of need to overhaul one's life, to do better and choose better and focus on the most important things.

And yet all the things already in progress hem one in. There seems to be so little ability to change while meeting all the obligations already present. The need to begin a new life seems the stronger because there is so little room to change.

Jesus Himself, whom today we remember in the tomb, had little patience with these constraints.  Sell all that you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me.  Leave the dead to bury the dead.  Christ himself leaves no room for the plea, "I want to follow you, but I have a lot of obligations already."

And so the drive to move on to a new life is constant.  And important.  And yet difficult.

You know what we need?  A vita nova.

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Coming out of the Dream

 Today is the last performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I would love to discuss concept and theme and art direction, but I am 100% swamped and have to be at the theater in half an hour. So here, have a link to a Google album of show photos. And some gorgeous fairies singing my arrangement of You Spotted Snakes:

We have had such fun, and our headaches have been minor and easily resolved with patience and good will. All in all, it has been an ideal community theater experience, a perfect first show, and a lot of fun for the old-timers. And I am completely exhausted and ready to stop having stress dreams about bizarre theater mishaps. Thursday I spent all day learning to be a sound engineer, so we could play clips of Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream as sound cues for the opening performance. Friday I completely redecorated Titania's bower because the old flowers weren't catching the light the right way. This afternoon, after our matinee, we strike. We have to be completely out of the theater so the next group can move in tomorrow. By this time tomorrow, A Midsummer Night's Dream will be just that, a happy and quickly fading dream.

So goodnight unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.