Thomasina in Tom Stoppard's mind bending time warping play, ARCADIA, observes that when you stir rasberry jam into vanilla pudding it will first swirl in streaks but ultimately will turn the entire pudding pink. If you stir the pudding in the opposite direction, the jam will not separate back out again.
--LIFE MOVES ONLY FORWARD--NEVER BACK!--
Carre’s latest work is typical for him. It avoids the violence and mad chases
and escapes that stoke traditional spy thrillers.Le Carre’s action is generally more internal than external and his main character, Nat,simply seems to be looking back on his long and
apparently successful career at “The Office” where he has faithfully addressed
the continuing threats of hostility between the post World War II powers.
As the book
opens, Nat has apparently retired from
the service and returned to London where hehas been assigned to a make-work supervisory role for a moribund local
well until a man named Ed appears on the scene. Ed is, like Nat, a badminton lover
and appears to want to test his mettle on the court with Nat. Nat, who
currently holds his club’s singles championship, feels he must accept.The matches are hard fought and both men
retire to the bar for a replenishing pint after each competition.
course of their apres-match conversations, Ed reveals strong opinions about
Putin, Brexit, Donald Trump and the current politics of Germany, Russia, and
the USA. Ned, the professional spook,
somehow ignores the warning signals that would perhaps have been quite obvious to
him if he were still in a foreign appointment. When a local operation exposes
Ed’s non badminton intersections with Ned’s life and the intersections with the
entirety of Her Majesty’s intelligence services you have a muddle that fuels
the reminder of the book. Along the way Le Carre has a good go at explaining plenty
of tradecraft and exposing the internecine squabbling within the upper echelons
of the government.
I felt the ending
was a bit flat and abrupt. It seemed
more like a setup for the next novel than a tying up of this one .What we do know at the end is that you can
put an old pro out to seed, but he can still run an exfiltration with the best
of them.It’s a fine cerebralread.
It seems as though each day gives us a slightly different view of what is happening in nature all around us. The sunrise each morning always seems to have just a little different cast and it changes by the minute.
As it gets higher the eastern sky clears and stronger rays find the northern still cloudy peaks of the Santa Catalinas.
A definite first in the four years we have been looking out of our window each morning was a large red tail hawk taking the early rays on the back condo fence.
We headed out to the canyon several times and caught a second sighting of our ground squirrel peeking out from his burrow.
The rain early in the week left a lot of puddles on the trail.
They make for nice reflections of people
The unusual water also attracted this white crowned sparrow for a drink and a bath.
As far as I could tell the Roadrunners stuck to the brush.
And finally the most definite signs of a new year coming were with the tiny yellow flowers of the Fiddle-Neck. They are so new that they have not yet bent down to the curve that gives them their name. They are indeed small. the flower is around an eighth of an inch across.
The set features two mesh walls with a central exercise area and the audience arrayed on the other two sides. Some productions have ringed the entire playing area with mesh or screens. I prefer this solution as it gives you a clear unimpeded view of the actors.
Wolves by Sarah Delappe is ostensibly a simple show with a
simple set. Nine members of a girl’s club soccer team in an unnamed American
city go through practice warmups and a string of personal conversations about
everything from menstrual blood to the Khmer Rouge.It has been one of the most produced plays of
the past year and this production was by the U. of Arizona’s Repertory Theatre (ART)
and features students in their School of Theatre.
The girls in
the cast prance in like prize polo ponies and start their pre-game warmups amid
a vocal mashup of voices.There is some Irony
here as the last show I saw in the Tournabene Theatre was Top Girls and Caryl
Churchill is probably the modern master of overlapping dialogue.
ear soon becomes accustomed to this real and sophisticated form of natural
speech. That enables you to see how
these adolescents are revealing their individuality and rank within the
boundaries of the Pack (Remember the title is The Wolves.) All the while each girl is also working on
attaining or retaining their acceptance within the pack or team.The metaphor is potent. The girls are also facing
the universal trial of integrating into the world of adulthood, which is
represented by the invisible coach, college scouts, their parents, the fans who
watch the games, and the audience in the theatre.
are identified only by their shirt numbers and in the group spirit of the show
I will not highlight any of them. They are all game, talented, and well suited
for their roles. It is only fair to keep them equal as they are all ultimately
fighting the same fight.
does not stop me from putting together a profile of each of them by virtue of
behavior and comments. I was particularly conscious of categorizing them to
keep them apart while they were trying to do the same thing within their group.
Here the work does begin to look a bit like a typical war movie. Common types jump out. First there is the division by
position (stryker, goalie, forward, etc,) then there are behavior types like
leader, sidekick, bad girl, bright one, bulimic, and of course there must be a newcomer.
In this show she has the additional difficulty of living in a yurt that the
girls all call a “yogurt.” It is
intriguing, however, that when they do jog off in formation for the playing
field they do submerge their individual trials for the team. They focus off
stage not on each other and metamorphose into a machine that exists to play and
As the team
moves through the season, complications like an abortion, an anxiety attack, or
a disabling injury arise.A problem here
is that these small crises don’t impact every team member at the same time or
with the same intensity. The playwright finally does have to resort to an
outside tragedy (a literal deus ex machina) in order to move us to the finish.
In spite of this expected “let’s all pull this out” ending, the play still does
put its fingers on the pulse of young girls growing up and trying to figure out
who they are and how they going to deal with the world and its attitudes toward
women. It remains an inventive and compelling evening for the audience and a
challenging outing for a director and young actresses. And now It’s time to go out and score some
parts of several years in Minneapolis working on a degree at the University of
Minnesota, I have heard most of the jokes tossed around in the wild and wacky production
of The Norwegians at the tiny Live Theatre Workshop in Tucson.C. Denly-Swansen’s ninety minute
intermissionless work moves rapidly, but ultimately succumbs to its origination
as a ten minute play that has been extended beyond the capacity of its core
The fun of
the setup is all in the first forty minutes or so.A woman from Texas (with none of the popular
Texas attributes of old cowgirl, ranch life, hosses, six guns, blond tresses,
etc.) travels all the way up I35 to hire two Minnie-Sotan Norweigian hit men to
dispense with her ex-boyfriend.While
the dour northerners interview her before accepting the contract, the woman
(Avis Judd as Olive) meets a sleek blond with a fowl mouth and a vicious
twisted sneer in a bar.It turns out
that she also has put out a contract on her ex and as she is from Kentucky and
has had a horse, she is ready and waiting to round off on the Norwegian punch
lines. Her name is Betty; she is played with monstrous gusto by Samantha
Courmier and she has a couple of roof raising monologues that skewer Minnee-soda
winters, Norwegian foods, sex practices, and philosophy.She is just plain delightfully over the top and
scary at the same time.
The two hit
men make a kind of Martin and Lewis pair.Steven Frankenfield’s Gus is the unsteady action guy who apparently
wields the Twins baseball bat that has lines on it for the kills. He has had a
previous unfaithful wife and now wants some real action, but doesn’t have much
to offer personality wise (but then what Norwegian does?}His partner is the philosopher king and
manager.His tag as he claims Norwegian
invention of all philosophies and even baseball is “We’re Norwegians.” They stand alone and imperious master of all
things. Keith Wick as Tor (named for the
Norse God of Thunder)has mastered the
dialect with that first phrase or syllable emphasis and is pretty much
hilarious every time he opens his mouth.
Roberto Guajardo says in his brief playbill notes “You probably won’t come away
from this production with any new insights,” but it should put a smile on your
face. I agree there were smiles aplenty, yet there just didn’t seem to be an
end.The show just stopped as if the
author had finally run out of ammunition. In the final minutes there are a number of
suspenseful blackouts and on about the third of them the lights came up and the
actors started taking their bows. The guy sitting next to me said out loud “Is
that it?”I was as surprised as he