Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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Seven-Sentence Reviews: The Beaux’ Stratagem – Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2014

August 8, 2014

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Previous productions I’ve attended: 0

2014 Publicity Images - THE BEAUX’ STRATAGEMOne might doubt that a 1707 provincial farce promoting legally accessible divorce in England would have much to offer a 21st century audience; but the 2014 Stratford production breathes delightful life into The Beaux’ Stratagem’s period plot-lines and characters.

Mike Shara and Colm Feore play penniless beaux scheming to win the affections and purses of country heiresses played by Bethany Jillard and Lucy Peacock. Notwithstanding some anachronistic phrases, the strong cast makes the dialogue reasonably understandable without any foreknowledge of the play.

Several supporting characters are marvelous—Martha Henry is terrific as Lady Bountiful, a doddering precursor to medicinal herbalists of today. Gordon Miller snaps up more than his share of laughs as the jittery manservant, Scrub. I’ve not previously seen Evan Buliung play so flamboyant a comic role as Count Bellair, a French prisoner of war with a, well, outrageous accent.

Antoni Cimolino’s joyful production also includes entertainment during the scene changes—extras sing short William Boyce-inspired tunes by Berthold Carrière.

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Like Riding a Bike

June 5, 2014

People like to say that one never forgets how to ride a bike.

People lie.

Skipping the back story, I was invited to go bike riding this past Sunday. I liked the idea. Indianapolis has a rapidly growing bike culture that I have yet to participate in.

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Two recent phenomena in town made the evening bike ride appealing. First is the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. This network of downtown pedestrian and bike paths connects various shopping, dining, and cultural destinations. The second is the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program. One can rent a bike from any of several stations downtown, ride it locally, and return it to any of the other stations.

As it happened, the bike ride plans fell through. But I wanted to try out the bikeshare anyway, just to see if I could make it work. So I put on my exercise clothes, drove myself downtown, parked my car, and walked to a bikeshare station. The program must be off to a good start, there was only one bike available.

I passed the intelligence test of the computer that rented the bike to me. I pulled it off the station with great satisfaction.

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Only then did it occur to me that I was standing in a public place with a bicycle. I haven’t ridden a bike since I learned to drive a car. That was four presidencies ago.I straddled it like a pro. I could stand there holding it all day. I successfully adjusted the seat for my height.I seemed to recall that I was supposed to start by pushing the pedal and lifting myself off the ground, simultaneously. More easily remembered than done.I did not, as you may suspect, fall on my face. Or any other body part for that matter. I rolled the bike in a small arc before I hopped off again and thought, How the hell did I think I was going to do this with other people?

I thanked my stars that I was alone. I made a toddler-esque loop around a parking lot, pumping my arms like mad and locking my knees. Somehow that seemed backwards.

My pride wouldn’t let me stay in the parking lot. As luck would have it, I found a straight, underused section of bike trail adjacent to the interstate. I made a few laps back and forth to tame my flailing limbs. With that warm up, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and ventured onto the Cultural Trail amid the pedestrians, vehicles and other targets.

I enjoyed exploring downtown without my car. One misses so many details by driving — plants, sounds, houses, stores and entire streets wash by. I found art installations, balcony gardens and lots of other bikers. I discovered that the Cultural Trail runs down a quaint alley underneath the raunchy gift shop attached to a gay bar. Who knew?

I might apologize to you for my long break from blogging. I’m actually still in the midst of my other projects. But I’d like to get back to writing. It’s cathartic for me, even if it’s a chore for you. In rereading some of my older posts, I found I can be rather depressing. I do apologize for that.

I suppose blogging counts among the things that are as memorable as riding a bike. But I always have trouble making time to write. Judging from my wobbly sea-legs after gracelessly dismounting the bike, I not sure how soon I’ll get back to either riding or writing.

 

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Productivity

February 11, 2013

As I mentioned, I’ve been busy with things other than writing since 2012.  I wanted to report that I have some results you can all visit online.

One word of warning.  You’ll find work attributed to Douglas Walker rather than Craig Stevenson.  Well, one of us is an alias.  If you don’t know which one, I’m not telling.

The first is the Mass Setting I wrote.  It’s online at ChristTheKingMass.com.  I’m planning to upload the sheet music as PDF files that other musicians can download if they would like.  I’ll get there at some point.

The other project is at HewToons.com.  In a previous post, I mentioned my inability to simply have a hobby.  Every time I try a hobby I transmute it into an attempt to start a second career.  So I’m at it again, this time with a comic strip.  As with most things in life, one doesn’t realize how difficult something is until one tries it.  It seems relatively simple to outline a few frames, write some jokes and draw some simple people.  Only after I started into the project did I discover the billions of nuances that come with the territory.

Please feel free to enjoy some of my non-Rubicon efforts, if you like.  I appreciate your interest and time.