Wednesday, December 05, 2007

An Evening of Valentines

Director Laurie Striebel and Producer Sue Owens treated the Fine Arts audience to two delightful evenings with the production of a two-part valentine weekend.
The first half of the evening found us following the lives of Andy Ladd and Melissa Gardner through a series of letters they have written to each other. In Love Letters, by author A.R. Gurney, we learn of the yearnings, triumphs and disappointments of two dear friends in an age before e-mail and text messaging.
Veteran Fine Arts member Julia Keim played the part of Melissa, while equally talented but new to the Fine Arts stage Rick Mason played Andy. We laughed and we cried, and thoroughly enjoyed every turn.
This poignant and sometimes humorous tale was followed by three hilarious scenes from Lovers and Other Strangers, by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna.
Three different couples exposed the many faces (and farces) of modern-day love.
Current FASD President Charles S. "Charly" Davis IV and guest performer Amy Kuta showed us the pitfalls (and eventual rewards??) when Jerry makes every attempt to seduce Brenda to his bachelor pad.
Next we witness the awkward meeting between two lovers in the bathroom during a party that both, each attached to other partners, are attending. Rick Mason as Hal and FASD member Donna Ridella as Cathy kept us in stitches.
Then George Abud, a senior at Grosse Pointe North High School, as Bud, tries his hardest to break off his engangement to Susan, played by Ana Meda, also a GPNHS student. As might be expected, Bud succumbs immediately to the simple request "Did you get your tuxedo?"
Look for these two young thespians in future productions.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Christmas Carol

Director Susan Davis and Producer Shirley Worthman treated Fine Arts and Theatre Arts audiences to a wonderful portrayal of Israel Horovitz's adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the timeless story of the true spirit of Christmas.

As old business partner Jacob Marley (Charly Davis) looked on, Ebenezer Scooge (John Diebel) was transported through time and space first by the Spirit of Christmas Past (Karen Quarnstrom).

Scrooge was reminded of events and friends from early years (younger Scrooge played by a series of guest actors including Liam Conlan, Cody Shrader and Matthew Becker) , including best friend Dick Wilkins (Cody Shrader) and fiance Belle (Kim Czasnojc).
The Spirit of Christmas Present (Jack Petz) showed Scrooge how his miserly ways affected people around him, including the poor (the young chorus of Lindsey Shrader, Maggie Rapai, Liam Conlan, Amanda Shrader, Cody Shrader, Avery Platt, Caroline Forster and Claire Platt), do-gooders wanting to help them (Bernice Platt and Paul Gracey) and his employee Bob Cratchitt and his family (Rob Green, Isabelle Donnelly, Leonie Leslie, Claire Platt and Avery Platt).

He shows the famous twins Ignorance (Liam Conlan) and Want (Lindsey Shrader) to Scrooge with the warning: "This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased."
The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come (Nancy Radke) then took Scrooge into the future to see the direction his miserly ways would lead, with his fellow businessmen (Matthew Becker, Paul Gracey, Geno Pirrami and fiddle player John Telford) debating even whether to go to his funeral, and scavengers Mrs. Dilber (Lisa Lechniak), Old Joe (Daniel Badia) and friend (Laura Pruitt) fighting over his clothes.
In the end, of course, Scrooge recognizes his errors, shouts out to Adam (Avery Platt) to get a holiday turkey for the Cratchitt family, promises to unite with nephew Fred (Gabriel Camero) and his wife (Kim Czasnocj) and to help all those in need.

And finally the audience was lifted into the Christmas Season by Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, Every-One.”

The Great Lakes Consort Baroque Ensemble

Lynne Marie Flegg (Oboe), Kristin Reynolds (Oboe), Mark Flegg (Trumpet), Nadine Deleury (Cello) and Angelina Pashmakova (Harpsichord) are congradulated and thanked for bringing their wonderful musical talents to The Playhouse and for taking us on a delightful European Holiday in the Baroque era.

Their music and oral presentations titillated our senses and put us into seventeenth century Europe. We learned much about the instruments, the music and the composers of the era, including Albinoni (Concerto a Cingue Opus 9, No. 9), Daquin (Le Coucou), Geminiani (Sonata in e minor), Purcell (Sonata in D Major), Scarlatti (Sonatas in C Major and d minor), Loeillet de Gant (Sonata in e minor), Telemann (Concerto in D Major) and, of course, J.S. Bach (Prelude from Suite No. 2 in d minor).
Our second season of Chamber Music at The Playhouse continues in wonderful fashion.