In the early weeks of January, Aisle Say has little to do but thirst for the second part of the theatre season. His idle mind causes him to ruminate on a veritable devils' playground of national issues.
My editor may arch his eyebrow over this diversion below, but I suggest that arts columnists – who witness the ills of society play-acted on stage - have world perspectives. One might say that, but then again, one might be stretching the argument. In any case, I pontificate on two ingrained problems in America, certainly neither one original with me:
1. Flat Tax Income Tax: A statement from a national taxpayer advocate multiplied the IRS' own estimates of how much time individuals and businesses spend complying with the code. 6 million hours annually. That's the equivalent of 3 million workers toiling full time for a year. This adds to US productivity?
2.Congressional Term Limits: Of the 27 Amendments to the Constitution, seven took 1 year or less to become the law of the land. Why? The people demanded it. They were fed up. There is a grass roots movement afoot for Congressional Term Limits: 12 years max! Either two 6 year Senate terms and six 2 year House terms. The Congressman has no tenure and no pension. No self-voted pay raises. Current Congress health care plan is abolished. They pay like everyone else.(There's a concept!) Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. One would consider this amendment would greatly reduce the inflammatory posturing and vitriol of the past 4 years.
Okay, Editors, now back to my day job....Thankfully! A preview of the upcoming months of local groups
1.New Candelight Theatre is staging two shows never before produced in the state. “Cats” runs from 28 Jan to 20 March. Producing Artistic Director Chris Alberts, who designs lights, should be lit up with this challenge. “The Full Monty”, opening 8 April, centers on four down and out steel workers from Buffalo NY who are desperate for cash. They turn to stripping to earn an income. The show is rated R for language and nudity. No one under 17 even allowed. That's a long way from the recent “Suessical”. NCTStage.org 302.475.2313
2.The Resident Ensemble Players (REP) of the U of D open 2011 with the Tennessee Williams' classic, “The Glass Menagerie”. Two of my favorite REP actors, Carine Montbertrand and Michael Gotch are lead characters. Both play 'distracted', 'obsessed', 'unhinged','psychotic' so exceedingly well. (The 'why' of it will be left for a future column.) Following in quick succession is “All The King's Men” on 17 Feb. This is the compelling drama of The Kingfish, Mississippi's Huey Long. Long was a power broker and supreme wheeler dealer in the LBJ matrix. Vietnam brought LBJ to his knees. With Long it was greed and hubris – the middle name of most politicians. His fall from grace was both extraordinary and tragic. I would imagine that Sandy Robbins chose this show to engage the audience with thoughts of current political shenanigans. Pttp.udel.edu 302.831.2204
3.Wilmington Drama League. Choreographer Jody Anderson returns for “Five Guys Named Moe” opening 21 Jan. The difficult to watch but absorbing “The Elephant Man' opens 18 March. The cast has not been publicized but for the lead character, here is an opportunity for a tour de force. WilmingtonDramaLeague.org 302.764.1172
4.Delaware Theatre Company opens with “Lucy” on 19 Jan. Vivian, a brilliant scientist, is called to take care of her estranged daughter, 13 year old Lucy. The child is autistic. One would think mother/daughter dynamics are played out and perhaps some answers and insights about this dreadful and challenging condition. DelawareTheatre.org 302.594.1100
5.Best of Broadway Productions. Join my newly revamped singing Ensemble at Bella Vita at The Cavalier's Country Club. Four outrageously talented singers and Broadway tunes. A grand and sumptuous buffet from former 3 Bakers chef John Obykhan. 17 Feb at 11:30am and 18 Feb . at 8pm. BellaVitaccc.net 302.731.5600