Recently in theater Category

Sometime around 2000, I heard, in error, that Maurice Sendak had died. I was sad about this, but did not discover that it was a false report until years later, in 2006. I wept Tuesday morning when I heard, once more, that he had died. I knew that this time, I wouldn't be getting him back. I wasn't as heartbroken as I was when Jim Henson died, but Henson died well before he should have. I knew from recent interviews with Sendak that, at age 83, he was starting to get pissed out about still being alive. He seemed ready to go.

Maurice Sendak, like Henson, had a strong hand in shaping my childhood landscape. Where the Wild Things Are became a favorite of mine very early on, and it remains so to this day. I am not alone in this by any means.) I did find the movie version to be enchanting, but I'd probably rather watch the Scholastic Storybook Treasures version.

However, it wasn't just Wild Things. My sister and I had a cassette of the Off-Broadway production of Really Rosie that we played over and over, memorized, and performed on our own. (I was particularly fond of "The Awful Truth.") We had copies of Pierre and Chicken Soup With Rice that got their share of wear. We also loved listening to Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or, There Must Be More to Life on tape, as read by Tammy Grimes.

Like Trina Schart Hyman, he was one of the illustrators whose work I have most admired. I was tremendously excited to find the Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of "Nutcracker", with set a costume designs from Maurice Sendak on VHS in the late 80s. It was a wonder and a delight.

Unsurprisingly, this week I have spent a great deal of time reading other people's memories of Sendak and revisiting my own. We remember and we carry on.



I was obviously not the only photographer at the Floating Market. Here are some that were actually shot during the market. (And with better lighting, since she was working with more than just the pop-up flash.) It's a very nice set.

Also, here is another excellent write-up of the event, featuring some of those photos.



Floating Evening

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And now, a brief break from Film Fest talk to write about how I spent my Sunday and Monday.

I've been following along with the pre-production of Lineline Theater's upcoming stage adaptation of Neverwhere. So, when I heard that they would be doing an actual Floating Market for their annual benefit event and where looking for volunteers to help *be* the market, I signed right up. How could I miss something like that? I've been missing the "Below" since the end of Boston Between the Cracks.

Sunday afternoon, I drove down to Crystal Lake, IL where I parked my car and hopped the Metra the rest of the way to Chicago. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love riding trains?) There was a rehearsal/costume parade for all the volunteers at Lifeline's space from 3:00 to about 6:00. While there, I got a rough preview of what the set is going to look like, and I must say, I'm impressed.

Following the rehearsal, I took the CTA towards Grant Park, to find the friend I was going to stay with for the night. I was already regretting that I decided that my combat boots were too bulky to carry and that I couldn't fit a spare pair of shoes in my pack. Ow.

One delicious Thai dinner later and both of us were pretty much ready to crash for the night.

I had to work on Monday, but had gotten clearance to do so remotely. (Have I mentioned how weird it is to use my PC desktop from a Mac? Always have to remember to avoid keyboard commands.) This made it a day of wi-fi surfing via three different coffeeshops. And more walking. Oh, the walking. (Did I mention those damn boots?)

The day was gorgeous, and many picturesque opportunities presented themselves, but I weighed the originality of any of the possible photos vs. the amount of stuff I was lugging around with me and decided that none of them were worth the effort. Sometime, I'll make a trip just for photos.

Evening came and it was time to ascend to the 4th floor of the Chicago Cultural Center and get ready for the event. Luckily, I did have time to run around and take some quick photos of some of the people and the place. There were a number of people and things that I never got a chance to capture on film, and the overall quality of what I shot was very snapshotty, but it did make bringing the Canon worthwhile.

The event ran from 6:30 to 10 PM, but it rather flew by. There were some scripted elements, including a bit of stage fighting ("bodyguard auditions"). There were performances by The Space/Movement Project, The Afterlife, Read My Hips, Pyrotechniq, The Tubeway Rats, and The Beat. A couple of fortune tellers, a storyteller, and a caricaturist plied their trades while "Captain Destiny" encouraged folks to spin the "Wheel of Destiny" to win prizes. Meanwhile, the denizens of the Floating Market interacted with the patrons and exhorted them to bid on silent auction items. Everyone ate, drank, and were quite merry.

And then the Market was over and it was time to go home. At which point I discovered that I'd lost my socks somewhere. This was a bummer, as they were a pair of a really nice wool overknees. Alas! Fortunately, I still had the socks I'd worn in character, so I didn't have to go sockless in my boots. (Did I mention those boots?) Unfortunately, looking for them took time I didn't have, and I suddenly had 14 minutes to walk about a least a 17 minute trek, according to Google maps. Fortunately, a couple of fellow Denizens were leaving as I was and offered me a ride to the station. Hurray! I made the train just in time.

The ride to Crystal Lake was pleasant. The drive to Madison was a little less so, given that it was after midnight by the time I started driving. I got through with McDonald's coffee and BBC World News on NPR, plus a lot of opening windows and sitting forward. Also, my "check engine" light came on, which could be meaningless but gave an edge of stress to the proceedings. I can haz Madison-Chicago trane, plz? Thx.

All in all, it was a tiring journey, but well worth it. I can hardly wait to see the actual show when it opens.



Saw Love's Labors Lost

Saw Love's Labors Lost at American Players Theater last night. It was an excellent performance of a mediocre play. (Yes, W.S. wrote some stinkers.) Granted, I knew that going in, so I wasn't disappointed. There was some excellent acting, and even though a great deal of the dialogue deals in puns and references that don't translate well from Elizabethan England to 21st Century US, it was quite funny. (I imagine watching this play now would be similar to watching Disney's Aladdin 100 years from now. It would be funny, but so many of the pop-culture references would be lost.)

James Ridge (Berowne), Jim DeVita (Don Armado), and Matthew Tallman (Boyet) were in top form. Colleen Madden (Princess of France) and Tracy Michelle Arnold (Rosalind) led the women in battle of banter. Newcomers Christopher Marshall (Costard) and Paul Hurley (Moth) added much to the hilarity.

It was a beautiful night for a play, too. Warm yet mild, and not too buggy. The thunderstorms that rolled in last night didn't hit until I was safely home and tucked into in my little beddy-bye. Take that, rain!



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