IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2007
THE ANTI-SUPER BOWL
4 February 2008
Sometimes on the days leading up to the Super Bowl it feels like the whole country is focused on this annual football game. Certainly, trying to find an open restaurant in the area of Walnut Creek where we found ourselves would lead you to believe that life, as we know it, came to a stop for the Super Bowl, with hand lettered signs in most restaurants which read "Closed on Sunday, February 3."
Last year I sort of hosted a Super Bowl party, simply because I was at my mother's and since she couldn't move much at that time, lots of people came to sit and watch the game with her. I supplied the food and drink and did watch the game.
This year we had tickets for the Lamplighters' closing performance of The Secret Garden at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.
Getting out of our car in the parking garage with lots of parents with daughters in tow gave me hope that perhaps not everybody in the country was glued to a television screen watching hulking men try to knock each other down. In fact, the 700+ seat theatre looked quite full while I sat and waited for the show to start.
I did make a trip down to the orchestra pit to say hi to my friends Diana Dorman (orchestra contractor and clarinetist) and Kathy Connor, who informed me she was playing six instruments in this show and asked if I would put her in my next blog entry--so this is why I mention it at all(hi, Kathy!).
The show was spectacular. I had not seen it before, though had heard the music (and, of course, had read the book as a child and seen the Shirley Temple movie a bazillion times over the years).
The Lamplighters is classified as a "semi-professional" theatre company (which means, they are always struggling for money!), but I dare anyone to find anything "semi" about this professional production, directed by my old friend Jane Hammett. It was absolutely first class. The cast was outstanding. The two kids were marvelous (and Lamplighter old timer Bill Neil, who plays the gardener, Ben, told me that the 8th grade girl playing Mary Lennox was one of the most professional actresses he'd worked with and was simply amazing).
I have two more productions of The Secret Garden coming up in two different theatres in the next year or so to review and I'm afraid they have a real challenge to come close to the excellence of this production.
When the show was over, we went in search of food, and found all of the restaurants in the area closed (though their signs all said that they were open on Sunday). We finally ended up at Chilis, where Walt had a blue cheese burger and I had fajitas. They had the game on in the bar part of the restaurant, so we were able to get the half-time score, though we couldn't watch the game from where we were sitting...and it didn't seem to matter anyway.
While we were sitting in the booth, I was glancing over the brochure that our Secret Garden program had come in. In it were descriptions of some of the upcoming shows which will play the Lesher Center.
One of them is a play called Nixon's Nixon, which is, according to the description, a fantasy re-telling of the conversation which took place between Nixon and Kissinger the night before Nixon resigned the presidency.
But what struck me was the end of the article, which reads..."By play's end, despite the laughs, we've been struck with the reality of a sad, sad time in U.S. history--a fortress White House, a leadership locked into its own ideology, and a sneering disregard for rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
"'They gave me so much power,' Nixon says to Kissinger. 'Why are they surprised I used it?'"
Hmmmmmm...... Nixon? Are they sure it's Nixon they're talking about?
On the drive home from Walnut Creek, I was listening to KGO talk show host Karel, who related some astonishing statistics from a recently released Army publication, which says that right now, every single day, 5 soldiers will attempt suicide.
I checked a report that will be published in The Washington Post on Tuesday, which reads in part:
(read the full article, if you like horror stories, or if you are wondering about McCain's feelings that we may have to be in Iraq for "100 more years.")
I dunno...compared to stories like this, the outcome of the Super Bowl (or, for that matter, the quality of a theatrical production!) seems pretty mundane.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Katy Corbus (Mary Lennox) and Tovi Wayne in
The Secret Garden
This is entry #2870