Christmas Miscellany

  • Drink coffee on my balcony (briefly)
  • Journal
  • Finish up left-over charitable donations (seems an appropriate time)
    Reread Alice Munro’s “The Turkey Season” (an offbeat Christmas read)
  • Finish last minute gift-wrapping
  • Some Christmas phone calls
  • Maybe some exercise?
  • Enjoy dinner with family tonight

I took the photo on the property last night. Like many photos- a lucky fluke. As I posted on FB, despite the urban grayness of the locale, it still conjured some magic for Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, everyone.

 

 

 

 

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Whenever You’re Ready

Just finished Nora Polley’s memoir about being a Stratford Festival stage manager: Whenever You’re Ready, written beautifully by Shawn DeSouza-Coelho.

What an apt title.

Apart from the famous names, such insight into the art. For example…
– The idea that a stage manager, like an actor or director, can have a favourite blending of actor and text, especially in performance.
– A stage manager works out a careful schedule of cues, only to be thrown off by the timing of actors. And yet, they can throw it off a bit, as needed.

After all, it is always, ultimately, their show.

Transcendent Years

I’m reading Marshall W. Mason’s “The Transcendent Years The Circle Repertory Company and the 1960’s”. For context- I got to see the Broadway production of Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July” in 1980 with, movingly, and ironically, Christopher Reeve playing a paraplegic. (See my blog post Happy Lanford Wilson Day)
More about that landmark play another time.
Mason’s book is a history of The Circle Repertory Theatre company and therefore an overview of Wilson’s output as a playwright (and Mason as a director).
So I am slowing down my progress through the memoir by reading the plays of Wilson, as they come up. Many are short one acts. All are unique. Wilson was a trailblazer from the start. His very first plays (“Home Free!” and “The Madness of Lady Bright”) broached, in turn, incest, and the life of a drag queen. Not easy subjects at any time for a writer. That he could humanize them compellingly speaks to his talent.
More to come….

The Turn of the Screw

Decided to spend October rereading Henry James’s masterful novella. Its sense of dread, suspense and just plain scariness is singular. I’m not surprised it’s been adapted as an opera (not seen) and the movie The Innocents (I own a copy- Criterion, of course.)

I’m reading with the perspective that the demonic possession is in the governess, not the children. Both perspectives work.

I should be done by Hallowe’en.

Testing The Current

I read William Macpherson’s Testing The Current when it came out in the eighties. A believable sustained coming-of-age novel from the point of view of a small boy.

A couple of well-observed gems, thus far:

“One day his mother came home with straws that were pleated like an accordion so they bent easily. Tommy liked those straws, but his mother saved them for when he was sick; he couldn’t use them at other times.”

“[His father’s dress shirt] was as stiff as a board there was so much starch in it, and the front was pique. That’s what they called it. It looked uncomfortable but very fancy.”

“Though [his mother’s] dress was black, it seemed to pick up the light from the lamps in the room and give off a soft shine of its own. His mother said it didn’t shine; it had a sheen, and there is a difference.”

First Day Back

My brother passed this along to me, from a teacher neighbour of his.

For teachers, July is a month of Saturdays; August is a month of Sundays.

I like that- that August is the second half of the long summer weekend- the night before it changes, come September.

It’s Labour Day Weekend. Back to the classroom on Tuesday. Here’s a monologue from my play Put Up Your Hand suited for this time of year: “First Day”. Enjoy.

And my best to all my colleagues back to it on Tuesday. Rested and renewed, I trust, after all those Saturdays and Sundays.
First Day