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TO REDDERING BY WAY OF HAVANA
6 August 2006
Somehow, the night after Fidel Castro disappears off the scene, turning the reins of government (temporarily?) over to his brother, seemed the ideal night to have dinner at a restaurant called "Havana."
We had made plans to attend a Lamplighter production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Ruddygore (which is set in the town of Reddering, in case you wondered what the title of this entry means!) with some of the same Lamplighter friends we've been seeing so much of lately.
We were meeting for dinner beforehand and someone suggested a restaurant she'd heard about on TV.
Havana is a little hole in the wall place serving "California Style Cuban" food. We started with Mojitos. I almost never even have wine with meal, much less a pre-dinner drink, but I'd heard a lot about Mojitos and was curious. Besides, you don't often see dark rum on a drink menu it's usually the light stuff, which I don't really like.
The Mojito was like having an evening at the home of our friends Dick and Gerry. They go down real smooth and it's nice that we didn't have time to consider a second drink.
The six of us decided to order tapas to share, as they had a nice assortment of "different" things. We had plates of scallops, muscles, plantains, shrimp, skewered beef and the rice and bread that went with them. We ended the meal with sherbet and flan.
Everything was delicious and I'd definitely both recommend this restaurant, and return again, if I had the opportunity.
After dinner, we walked two blocks to the theatre and settled in to watch Ruddygore.
I had noted with amusement that on the marquee of the theatre it is posted as
THE WITCH'S CURSE
Gilbert and Sullivan always had an "or title," the secondary title that described the show, like "Pirates of Penzance or The Slave of Duty," "Pinafore or The Lass Who Loved a Sailor." Ruddygore's "or" title is The Witch's Curse, but apparently in the day of dwindling audiences (look at that sea of white hair and bald heads out there), they had to find some subtle way to appeal to younger potential audiences. Young people are far more likely to check out something called "The Witch's Curse" than something with a name they don't understand at all, like "Ruddygore."
This was an excellent production, directed by Jane Erwin Hammett. I remember when Jane made her very first major appearance on the Lamplighter stage. It was in 1985 as the young ingenue in Something's Afoot, the show that was so special to me and to everybody involved with it. When we were in Los Angeles to see Jimmy's show, Zero Hour, I learned for the first time that Jimmy was in the original production of Something's Afoot and had originated the role of Flint, the lecherous caretaker who sings my favorite song ("I've got a teeny little dinghy"). I was so tickled to discover that that when I ran into Jane in the lobby after the show, I was eager to share that information with her.
She was unimpressed. Owell. I thought it was something cool to find out.
As for last night's show? A knockout. It's kind of depressing, after being so intimately involved in the company for so many years, to look at a program and realize that you recognize only two names, and you only really know one of those people. But with the exception of the role of Richard Dauntless, the sea faring foster brother of the hero, I loved everyone's performance.
The guy playing Richard was OK, but he wasn't Woody, compared to whose performances in the 70s and 80s all tenor performances pale for me. (For how he looked in his prime, doing this role, check the video of the day, "Memories of 1982")
But Woody is old and balding and portly nowadays and probably couldn't dance a hornpipe to save his soul.
[Insert sadistic cackle from bitter woman who can't get past the difficulties of 1986 and "how it all ended." Despite the fact that Woody is a miserable son of a bitch, he still was a heck of a performer, I was reminded as I watched the 1982 video today.]
My history with The Lamplighters has come full circle. Back in the 1960s I was going to the theatre to learn the shows and to watch a bunch of people I didn't know perform them. Then I got to know people, became intimately involved, and watching shows was fun because you got to see how your friends handled this performance on this particular night. Now I no longer know people, so I'm watching a bunch of strangers perform again (though I no longer am "learning the shows.")
When you get back to this point again, it's nice that the production you are watching is such a good one.
Even if it would have been better with
Woody doing Dauntless.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
His name is Apollo; I found him on Flickr.