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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.









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


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


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


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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October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

Glenfiddich Farm Pottery Annual Fall/Holiday Sale

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Spaghetti Dinner

Old Time Country Ham and Turkey Dinner

November 6, 2016

Glenfiddich Farm Pottery Annual Fall/Holiday Sale

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Leesburg-Daybreak Rotary Club Sends Supplies and Funds to Haiti

24 Oct 2016


The Rotary Club of Leesburg-Daybreak shipped water purification supplies and emergency funds to Haiti following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Partnering with an anonymous local corporation, the club shipped 3,000 water purification tablet packages via FedEx to Haiti. These packages, which were sent to an area battling a cholera outbreak, will clean 3,000 liters of unsafe water. Instructions translated …

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Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

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FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

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Grief and Greed


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 …


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


– 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


– 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

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall


The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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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


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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Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


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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