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“Christmas Carol” Likely to Become a Loudoun Institution

December 8, 2012 Behind the Scenes, Lifestyle Comments Off on “Christmas Carol” Likely to Become a Loudoun Institution
The Ghost of Christmas Past (Molly Warndorf) points to memories that Scrooge (Phil Erickson) doesn't want to see. (Photo by Jim Poston.)

By Mark Dewey printed with permission from The Shenandoah Press

There’s a moment in Once Upon A Christmas Carol that appears to be a mismatch. Phil Erickson, who plays Scrooge, is trying to hide from apparitions and regrets, those sisters. He has laid himself back down in his bed and covered his head with the quilts. Molly Warndorf, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, has to make him get up. Erickson is an accomplished, prodigious actor whose charisma tends to dominate the stage, and Warndorf is an eighth-grade girl who played a munchkin at Harmony Middle School once. Asking her to bully him would not appear to be a good idea.

I expect the moment to ring false, and I cringe as it approaches because I’ve been liking the play so well and I want to keep liking it, but I doubt a one-time munchkin little girl can generate enough personal power to roust Phil Erickson, even if he cooperates. Why not give that task to somebody like Shawn Malone, who’s bigger than the bed Erickson’s hiding in, and whose experience with Not Just Shakespeare, Inc. is even more substantial than his person? And he’s right there in the middle of the cast — a couple of scenes earlier he picked up Drew Hare and wrapped him around his waist with one arm. I’d make that guy kick Erickson’s butt out of bed. … Continue Reading

Don’t Believe Everything You See

April 10, 2009 Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Don’t Believe Everything You See

By Mark Dewey
April 10, 2009

Ting-Yi Oei, assistant principal at Freedom High School in South Riding, recently endured an ordeal that might serve as a cautionary tale about the ascendancy of image over text in modern culture. Is a picture really worth a thousand words anymore? Or has proliferation made them cheap and tawdry now? Both them and us.

Oei came to our attention on August 21, when sheriff’s deputies arrested him at work. Local papers ran his booking photo next to a headline that would make anyone look sinister: “School Administrator Faces Child Porno Charge.” We gazed at his face, and we imagined. Seeing is believing, after all.

News reports offered little information: deputies had found a photo deemed “inappropriate” on his computer, and he was free on bail awaiting trial. … Continue Reading

Agro-Depot Lends a Hand

March 27, 2009 Business, Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on Agro-Depot Lends a Hand

March 27, 2009
By Mark Dewey

This morning’s news left me pondering two different kinds of value, real and false—or maybe it’s two different kinds of people.

I read that Obama decided to give bankers $2 trillion to cover their bad debts—not all bankers, just the ones that tried to make money out of nothing and wound up making this economic disaster instead—and in response investors bought so many stocks that the Dow Jones average rose seven percent in one day. No real value grows that fast.

… Continue Reading

I Want Someone to Like

March 13, 2009 Behind the Scenes, Columns, View From the Ridge Comments Off on I Want Someone to Like

March 13, 2009
By Mark Dewey

During these hard times, when individuals, communities, and entire nations are forced to choose what they will keep and what they must let go, theater seems more generous than ever. For a couple of hours every night, stage actors set themselves aside, allowing characters who wouldn’t otherwise exist to inhabit their bodies and take up their time so people like me can watch, and think, and be consoled. The same words, the same gestures, the same story, night after night. It’s a discipline of self-sacrifice, and I admire people who do it, especially people who do it for joy.

Like the Pieces of Eight Players, for example. Their inaugural production, “Love Letters,” which ran last fall, put two people on stage at separate desks and watched them try to tell each other the truth, a task that took them fifty years. It was the most compelling and consoling piece of theater I’ve seen in Loudoun County, and I took its memory with me to last week’s opening of “Don’t Dress for Dinner.”

Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.

Director Mike Minnicino described “Don’t Dress” as a quintessential 1960s sex farce—a French sex farce—but I’ve never seen one of those, so I researched the play online. It was written during the 1960s by the late French playwright Marc Camoletti and adapted for English production by Robin Hawdon, whose version opened in London in 1991. It ran for seven years without interruption. A lot of Londoners liked it. Chicago’s Royal George Theater has been running a production of the play since last October. A lot of people there like it, too, even with a $60 ticket price.

Google offers nothing but positive reviews. “To say it tickles that much neglected, much-necessary, semimythical, recession-challenged appendage (the funnybone),” writes Chris Jones, theater critic for the Chicago Tribune, “is not to do the show justice.”

Writing on Examiner.com, critic Catey Sullivan begins her review by admitting that she doesn’t like farce. “Farces demand that everyone on stage be an idiot,” Sullivan writes. “Staggering stupidity may be funny in a five-minute sketch, but in a two-hour play it can be as unbearable as nails on a blackboard.”

In the end, however, much to her surprise, she liked the play.

The premise is this: Bernard’s wife, Jacqueline, plans to visit her mother, so Bernard invites his mistress, Suzanne, to the house for the weekend. He also invites his old friend Robert, partially to cover his tracks, partially to show off his mistress. When wife Jacqueline learns that Robert is coming, she cancels her visit with mother because she and Robert are lovers and she wants to have sex with him under her husband’s nose. When Bernard learns that Jacqueline has cancelled her visit, he convinces Robert to pretend that Suzanne is actually his own mistress so Jacqueline won’t suspect Bernard. But Robert confuses Suzette, the cook, with Suzanne, the mistress. Everyone drinks a lot, and lies compound with other lies, until no one seems sure who wants to go to bed with whom.

I agree with Sullivan: most farce strikes me as much ado about nothing, and I attended this production only because it was mounted by Pieces of Eight. In the end, however, I didn’t like the play. And I respect and admire the men and the woman of Pieces of Eight too much not to say so.

I’m able to see that they did some things well. Nancy McCarthy coils the telephone cord around her finger as if it were her lover’s curly hair, and she seems to give herself goose bumps when she scratches the arched back of the sofa. Tim Griffin manages to look more and more confused and as the web of lies proliferates, and the lines he has to deliver get longer and longer. But I find little in the characters to like because they want me to think adultery is funny, and I don’t. Maybe it was funny during the free-love 1960s, but I have a hard time laughing at it now that divorce is becoming the rule for American marriages rather than the exception. Maybe it’s funny in France.

I realize that, as Chris Jones says, the play is meant to satirize “the wimpiness of most adulterers,” but that’s an easy target to hit. Come on, I feel like shouting from the balcony, hard times like these demand the most of us. The time you give up every night is worth more than the wimpiness of most adulterers. Aim for targets farther on, I feel like shouting. I’ll be waiting up here in the balcony, and watching—heckling, maybe—because I know how good you are.


 

 

 

 

Columns

Pie in the Face (with remarks from Ron Paul)

noerpel_new

“In any field, the establishment is seldom in pursuit of the truth because it is composed of those who sincerely believe that they are already in possession of it.” E. T. Jaynes. Everybody prefaces Bernie Sanders name with “pie in …

Asterisk No More

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

Michael_Pic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

Smith0035

It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

town of purcellville sign

Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Calendar

February 2016
M T W T F S S
1 2 3

Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner

4

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

5

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

6

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

7

5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

8 9 10 11

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

12

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

13

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Chocolate & Cabernet

Sweetheart's Soirée at Breaux Vineyards

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

14

Notaviva Vineyards presents 5th annual "My Funny Valentine" comedy show feat. Jason Weems!

Celebrate Valentine's Day at North Gate Vineyard

Gallery Coffeehouse: READERS THEATRE "LOVE LETTERS" BY A. R. GURNEY

15 16 17

Mad Cap Puppets: UNDER THE BONSAI TREE

18 19

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

20

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT: Year Of The Monkey

21

Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

22 23 24 25 26

Breaux Vineyards February Fourth Friday

27

THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert

28

Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

Our Love is Here to Stay

29 1 2 3 4

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

5

Merlot Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

North Gate Vineyard Wine Dinner with Chef Sebastian Oveysi

6

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

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Lifestyle

Creation and Evolution in Native American Spirituality

9 Feb 2016

turtle_swartz

In celebration of Evolution Weekend, an annual event led by clergy to encourage serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science, St. James United Church of Christ in Lovettsville has invited Roger and Deborah “Turtle” Swartz to guide a discussion of traditional Native American Spirituality and its wisdom in celebrating human relationship to the earth. In a …

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Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016

runandwalk

There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

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Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016

lovinleesburgrealestate1

By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

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Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House

Dave_larock

The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

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Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse

Kaine

On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

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Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships

Virginia_seal

Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

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Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

ODFCsoccerpics

The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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