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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

Hundreds Will Join 20th Annual Butterfly Count August 6

spring garden butterfly

By Andrea Gaines How Is a Butterfly Like a Rainbow? Scientists recently discovered that some butterfly wings contain tiny structures called gyroids that diffract or break up light into the colors of the spectrum. You may also have seen this …

Your Retirement Plan B

Smith0035

Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected. Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is …

Learning Patience As a Camp Counselor

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde They say that one of the biggest blessings is being a teacher. It is also one of the hardest. Explaining to nine-year-old kids how to build a fire is one of the most challenging things I’ve …

Remembering the Man Who Never Forgot

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “God is God because He remembers.” The implication being that the defining element separating humans from God is the Divine’s inability to forget. Elie Wiesel was defined in part by his willingness to remember, along with his …

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Balch Library

Thomas Balch Library

By Tim Jon Solitude, peace, and quiet: Not exactly the first three adjectives I’d choose to describe the greater portion of downtown Leesburg, although its charms do shine through even on the busiest of weekday afternoons. The last morning I …

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Michael_Pic

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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Calendar

August 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 1, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 2, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 3, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 4, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 5, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 6, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

OysterFest & Roussanne Release!

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Doug Parks

August 7, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 8, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 9, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 10, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 11, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 12, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 13, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 14, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 15, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 16, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 17, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 18, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 19, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 20, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

Live Music: Stealing Dawn

August 21, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

August 22, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

AUDITIONS

August 23, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 24, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 25, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 26, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 27, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Fabulous Hubcaps

August 28, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 29, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 30, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 31, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

September 1, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 2, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 3, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Snaggy Mountain Boys

September 4, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

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Lifestyle

Winchester Plans Patsy Cline Music Festival Labor Day Weekend

11 Aug 2016

Patsy Cline

The Patsy Cline Music Festival will be held Labor Day weekend in her hometown of Winchester, Va. in honor of the legendary singer’s birthday anniversary on September. 8. Celebrating Patsy Cline sponsors the celebration that begins with a block party from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Music will …

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Vigil for Lost Promise to Remember Loved Ones Lost to Drugs

11 Aug 2016

sheriff

Residents and local leaders are encouraged to join the many families, friends and community groups to share the light of their loved ones lost to drugs. The Vigil for Lost Promise will be held Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Drugs: Cost and Consequences Exhibit (DEA Museum), located at 750 Miller Dr. …

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August Is National Peach Month: Eat a Peach in Salad

3 Aug 2016

peach

Are You Kidding? No. A nectarine and a peach are basically the same species. Nectarines are bald peaches, in effect. In early cultivation, nectarines occasionally appeared on peach trees, the result of a recessive allele, the fruit from which were then cultivated as nectarines. Peaches are also part of the rose family. No wonder why we like all three, so …

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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

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

blueridge2.jpg

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

blueridge2.jpg

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Lessons from Short Hill

shorthillmeeting

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

speak

Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

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 …

Around Virginia

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

marijuana

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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State Senators Investigate University of Virginia’s $2.3 Billion Operating Surplus

Uva-logo

Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), are calling for an investigation into disclosures that the University of Virginia has accumulated a $2.3 billion operating surplus, now titled a “Strategic Investment Fund,” that is significantly larger than the Commonwealth’s own cash reserves. Both senators agree that the …

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Sports

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016

baseball

American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

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