Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘My Fair Lady’

peter and the starcatcher set

The curtain goes up,
The curtain goes up,
It’s a wonderful moment,
When the curtain goes up…

—Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

On Friday, the hubs and I met up downtown after work, to catch the Lyric Stage Company’s opening night performance of Peter and the Starcatcher. It’s a fast-paced, witty, hilarious prequel of sorts to Peter Pan, and we loved every second of it. Elaborate wordplay, swashbuckling fights, wildly colorful mermaid costumes, and a story with friendship and magic at its heart. (Because you can’t have Neverland without either one, really.)

I didn’t know much about the play beforehand, but I knew that the Lyric Stage puts on fabulous shows, since I took my parents to see their production of My Fair Lady last fall. That show is an old favorite of mine – my dad and I can quote Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering for hours – and their version felt both familiar and wonderfully fresh. Both nights reminded me of something I often forget: how much I love live theatre.

my fair lady set

Aside from a drama class in ninth grade and a few church plays, I don’t have much acting experience. But I love the immediacy of live theatre: the way it binds audience and actors together in a vital dynamic. In this age of carefully produced everything – Instagram filters, sharply cut films, painstakingly edited music – live theatre still holds the potential for surprise.

I know it takes a lot of work to get to opening night, and I know these actors and crew members spent weeks perfecting the set, the lighting, the lines and the blocking. But after all that preparation, each performance – the thing itself – is a glittering, singular entity all its own. Telling stories and listening to them is a deeply human act, and live theatre brings stories into the open, in all their glorious particularity.

There wasn’t an actual curtain on Friday night: the Lyric Stage space (see above) is small and intimate, and the audience simply waits for the lights to come up. But I still felt like Betsy Ray in the Deep Valley Opera House, alive with anticipation:

It’s like Christmas morning,
Stealing down stairs,
It’s like being hungry,
And saying your prayers.

It’s like being hungry,
And ready to sup,
It’s a wonderful moment,
When the curtain goes up.

Betsy, as usual, had it exactly right. As the cast came bounding onstage for the first scene, my eyes filled with sudden tears. This is what it means to be human: telling each other our stories, and delighting in them. (And maybe catching a few stars along the way.)

Read Full Post »

wife maid mistress book soup bread
So many good books this month (including the one above). Here’s what I have been reading:

Crossing to Safety
, Wallace Stegner
I’d heard about this lovely, quiet novel from Anne and others, and am so glad I finally picked it up. It traces the friendship of two couples, the Morgans and the Langs, over several decades. So many subtle, thought-provoking insights on marriage, friendship, work and love. Beautifully written. I’ll be rereading it.

Superfluous Women, Carola Dunn
While convalescing in a country town, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher reconnects with an old friend – and, of course, gets mixed up in a murder investigation. A quiet but thoughtful look at the issue of “superfluous” (i.e. unmarried) women in England after World War I, and a rather surprising solution to the mystery. (I love Daisy.)

Emerald Green, Kerstin Gier
Gwyneth Shepherd has discovered her destiny as a time-traveler, and met a handsome boy (her partner in crime). But things are getting desperate: they must plot to save themselves and their loved ones from the evil Count Saint-Germain. Fast-paced, funny and romantic; a great finish to this time-travel trilogy. (The magic and world-building are still a little confusing, but the story is so much fun.) A reread.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress, Ariel Lawhon
I blew through Lawhon’s second novel, Flight of Dreams (out Feb. 23), then picked up this one (her debut). The premise: Judge Joseph Crater disappears in New York City in 1930, and the three titular women each have damaging information about the case. Lawhon skillfully moves back and forth in time, with razor-sharp banter and stylish, telling details. A gripping mystery.

Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, D.E. Ireland
Eliza Doolittle (yes, that Eliza Doolittle) is working as a language teacher and still sparring with Professor Henry Higgins, when her employer (one of Higgins’ rivals) is found dead. Higgins himself is the prime suspect, so Eliza sets out to clear his name. A fun mystery featuring the beloved characters from My Fair Lady.

I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett
Tiffany Aching is officially the witch of the Chalk, which means she does all the unglamorous work no one else will do (with help from her friends, the miniature warriors known as the Nac Mac Feegle). But when a malevolent spirit starts spreading anti-witch feeling, Tiffany must face it down once and for all. The plot dragged in places, but I love Tiffany and the Feegles. (Crivens!)

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, Joshua Hammer
I heard about this nonfiction adventure story on All the Books and was instantly intrigued. (What a title!) It follows Abdel Kader Haidara, a librarian who amassed an astounding collection of ancient Islamic manuscripts in his home country of Mali. As the manuscripts’ safety was threatened by Al Qaeda, Haidara and his colleagues staged a daring rescue operation. The details of military campaigns dragged at times, but I was fascinated by Haidara’s work. To review for Shelf Awareness (out April 19).

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Katarina Bivald
When shy, bookish Sara travels from Sweden to Broken Wheel, Iowa, to meet her pen pal, Amy, she discovers that Amy has died. But Amy’s friends are determined to take care of Sara – and even to do a little matchmaking. Sara opens a bookstore, and both her presence and the store inspire changes in the lives of various townspeople. Fun premise, lots of book-nerd catnip, but all the characters felt like vague outlines to me.

Links (not affiliate links) are to my favorite local bookstore, Brookline Booksmith.

What are you reading?

Read Full Post »