Friday, September 24, 2021

Review: Oregon Shakespeare Festival returns with 'Water by the Spoonful'

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland is offering eleven plays in three theaters: Angus Bowmer Theatre, Thomas Theatre, and Allen Elizabethan Theatere. Water By the Spoonful is a play by Quiara Alegría Hudes and directed by Shishir Kurup.  

This play is about the things that hold us back and the people who help us move forward. It deals with crack addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as the advantages and limits of connecting through the Internet. Its available in-person and to stream through September 26th.

Elliot Ortiz,  played by Daniel Molina is every bit the soldier who has tried to protect and defend and is haunted by ghosts from his past. Vilma Silva as Haikumom, also known as Odessa is the mother and relapsed addict whose good intentions gain empathy. The supporting cast contained wonderful work from Nancy Rodriguez as Yazmin Ortiz, Bruce A.Young as Chutes & Ladders aka Clayton “Buddy” Wilkie and Celeste Den as Orangutan, Barzin Akhavan as Ghost , professor Aman and police, Barret O'Brien as Fountainhead, also know as John.

The show begins in what might be the present day with a support-group meeting with Odessa and two other recovering addicts. Each of the characters occupy their own square riser enclosing their cyber world.  I expect them to confess their drug of choice and goals for recovery. Since this is not traditional therapy, what the audience gets instead is an authentic retelling of their story. And their stories are breathtaking. All the characters describes their desires and hopeful outcomes. These are everyday characters with jobs and seemingly average lives. It's no surprise that two recoveries strike up an unlikely romance as the cyber world creates that fine line of perceived safety and eventual need for direct contact.

Director Shishir Kurup states, “I am moved by how the play reveals the many subtle ways people soothe themselves, how they find escape from their quietly desperate lives and how they deny the truth to keep it from affecting their cherished coping mechanisms.”

Along with a unique storyline, the play incorporates distinctive lighting by Geoff Korf. Nine blue lit squares are used to show the characters communicating to one another in different environmenst with black paths in between.The blue lighting suited Water by the Spoonful, and may symbolize the ever growing trust along with states of depression. Although more dynamic lighting may have reflected the varied emotions, the blue lit squares didn’t add much texture to the background but was helpful in showing the cyber support group, adding to visual aesthetic that may have not been achieved if the characters were sitting behind computer screens. The effect reminded me of Dance Dance Revolution.

Water by the Spoonful reveals life with PTSD and depicts the intense emotional ways people numb the pain. The dialogue stabs the heart and is quite relevant in a world where two million people struggle with at least one addiction and only ten percent receive help.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sunday Post #amreading #amjoy @kimbacaffeinate @BillyCrystal

Image result for billy crystal animated gif

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things  received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Review

           LOOKING FORWARD TO march

This week I listened to Billy Crystal's audiobook. He talked about his idea for the 'pepper/popper' scene in 'When Harry Met Sally'

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things  received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


This week I talked to some writers about going to The Moth at the end of September.  The Moth is non-profit group dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. The organization presents a wide range of theme-based storytelling events across the United States and abroad( Anyone can come with a story and compete with others telling stories.)

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Ballet Co.Laboratory and Drive-In Forward

This is an event that showcased in 2020

Ballet Co.Laboratory introduced its third annual fundraising performance, Drive-In Forward, on Saturday, October 24th, 2020 in St Paul with a virtual silent auction, socially distance games and raffles.   The  company returned to stage after an unplanned seven-month hiatus.

Throughout this pandemic, we have missed many things, but performing for you is highest on our list, managing director Rachel Koep posted in the program notes.

In the parking lot, transformed into a 1950s drive-in style event, dancers prepared for a fall day in Minnesota with leg warmers and slippers to cover their toe shoes. Many dressed in sweaters and poodle skirts, their hair in high ponies.  The dancers often ran back and forth between the stage and a warm trailer.

As instructed by the attendant, I parked my car at an angle along with three dozen others in a circle around the stage. Then, another attendee distributed popcorn and refreshments. I tuned my radio station to hear the show’s music. My favorite number was 'Everything' by Buddy Holly. Dancers did the twist and the mashed potato while wearing white gloves; doing spins and two steps.

Company dancers included Jayson Douglas, Sage Engle-Laird, Zoé Henrot, Brittany Pate, Rosa Prigan, Anna Roehr, Rachel Seeholzer. There were also apprentice dancers, many of whom joined for the 2020/21 season from around the country.

“I’m excited, this is the first time I’ve performed since January,” said company dancer, Rachel Seeholzer.

Like the movie Cars, vehicles seemed to have more personality than ever as patrons tooted their horns and flashed their lights in applause fashion. I found myself doing the mashed potato and opening my window to engage even further.

Each of the dances incorporated an element inspired by the artists’ own experiences. In music number, The Great Pretender by The Platters, Jayson Douglas and Rachel Seeholzer, dancers of colors, were seated back to back in a show of civil unrest. 'The Great Pretender' considers the powerful effect of seeing one’s own struggles in someone else and the comfort provided in embracing shared identity when one feels defeated, this shared in the program notes.

In the finale, 'Let's Twist Again', dancers off stage two stepped until they too joined the company on stage, each taking a chance to bow and bid farewell. Until when? You might ask. Ballet Co.Laboratory’s virtual production of Snow Queen will be airing on December 19th and 20th and LABORATORY II will be airing March 20th, Tickets at



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