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“Christmas Carol” Likely to Become a Loudoun Institution

December 8, 2012 by Contributor 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 by Blue Ridge Leader 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 by Blue Ridge Leader 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 by Blue Ridge Leader 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.

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Sustainable Planet

Not Your Father’s El Nino

15 Aug 2015

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NASA and other agencies now forecast the incipient El Nino conditions to continue at least into the winter and the early part of 2016. Figure 1 compares Pacific sea surface temperature anomaly for the El Nino of 1997- 1998 with …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Childhood and Adolescent Depression: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

2 Sep 2015

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By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects one in every 10 Americans.  And while the CDC’s data on depression currently shows that folks residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia fall slightly …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Suzanne Kane Nature Preserve

2 Sep 2015

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This innocuous little area lay smoldering in my semi-consciousness for several years – and after thousands of passings-by – I finally woke up one morning and just had to find out what was to be found out there. See – …

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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

7 Aug 2015

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I think what strikes me most about this place – as over the top as it is in many ways – is how understated it really is; I know that’ll take some explaining. I’ve been to Morven Park hundreds of …

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Sushi's Corner

March Sushi

4 Mar 2015

pot of gold

Hello everyone, this is Hokie Cat from Fields of Athenry Farm. Sushi is in big trouble as we speak and is residing in doggy dungeon. I am here to fill you in on what took place. My brother Mountie loves …

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Virginia Gardening

Planting an Allergy-Free Garden

5 May 2015

donnawilliamson

By Donna Williamson Tom Ogren has a long-time interest in allergy-inducing plants. He has written several books on the topic and in February released his latest The Allergy Fighting Garden. He explains why plants can stir up allergies and has …

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Samuel Moore-Sobel

A Man of Character

3 Sep 2015

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “I thought it would be appropriate to reiterate my thoughts on power and quote something from Frederick Douglass that I believe is quite true,” Manfred Kory wrote to me after reading Lonnae O’Neill’s June 29 column in …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

When To Take Social Security: Timing Is Everything

3 Sep 2015

Smith0035

As you approach retirement, there are several decisions that can impact the level of income you will receive when you stop working. One such decision will be about claiming your Social Security retirement benefit. More than half of eligible Americans …

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Student News

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

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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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Blue Ridge Middle Places 11th In National Science League

1 Jul 2015

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Blue Ridge National Science Day Declared Tuesday, June 10 has been officially been declared Blue Ridge National Science Day. At a recent Purcellville Town Council Meeting, Mayor Kwasi Fraser and members of the town council signed a proclamation designating this …

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Events

September 2015
M T W T F S S
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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Notaviva Vineyards Monthly Bluegrass Jam is BACK w/Short Hill Mountain Boys

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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COFFEEHOUSE: J.RILEY STEWART

COFFEEHOUSE: LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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KAYDEE PUPPETS: SHEEP DOG DETECTIVES

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

September Fourth Friday at Breaux

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Rally for the Cure

Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

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Afghan Treasures Trunk Show

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

BUSH BROTHERS LIVE!

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Recent Comments

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

5 May 2015

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 sessions June 4, 11 and 18 at 7:00 p.m. at town hall for the proposed sweeping zoning changes. These major …

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Editorial

Getting Purcellville Out of the Conflicts of Interest Trap

7 Aug 2015

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Three Virginia laws address openness in government: the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA), The Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA) and The Virginia State & Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (VCOIA). VFOIA guides how public bodies conduct their meetings and regulates access to government records. VPRA establishes basic rules about what constitutes a public record and what the government’s …

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Lifestyle

Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament

3 Sep 2015

stoneleigh

Stoneleigh Women’s Golf Association’s is having their annual Rally for the Cure ™ golf tournament in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a great opportunity to play at the golf course recently cited as being the prettiest golf course in Northern Virginia by Golf Magazine and recently awarded a 3.5 star rating by Golf Digest. The format is …

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Irish Sessions at Corcoran Brewing

3 Sep 2015

noerpel150

Gina Faber and Tony Noerpel have started an “Irish Session” at Corcoran Brewing Company in Purcellville once a month on the second Sunday. The next session will be from noon to 3:00 p.m. on September 13. It is an open session, and anyone can bring an instrument and play along. Tony and his wife, Nancy, visited Ireland last year and were impressed by …

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September Calendar

3 Sep 2015

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Ongoing events Saturdays, September 12 to October 17, Interpreting Scripture Through Visual Arts, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Jonathan Holland, artist and youth pastor, will take you on a journey to create powerful and moving art rooted within the Bible. Cost is $105. Go to opusoaks.org. On Saturday, September 12 at noon, Sunday, September 13 at 1:00 p.m., September 26 at noon and September 27 …

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Wild Loudoun

Dragonflies – To See Is To Believe

7 Aug 2015

wildloudoundragonflies

Shadow Darner. Unicorn Clubtail. Black Shouldered Spinyleg. Blue Dasher. Ebony Jewelwing. Calico Pennant. Sanddragon. Their names conger up some magical place inhabited by devils and demons, elegant queens, daring lovers – creatures you would need to see with your own eyes to believe really existed. But, each of these, including the Calico Pennant, is actually one of the most common …

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Around Virginia

Good Government Reinforces the Family

davelarock

By Delegate Dave LaRock Working as the elected Delegate for the 33rd House District has renewed my understanding of the value of a strong family. After decades of raising my family of mom, dad, and seven children and building my family’s business, which provided countless opportunities for mom, dad and …

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Governor McAuliffe Launches Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship

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Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed Executive Order 47 establishing the Governor’s Council on Youth Entrepreneurship, which shall be responsible for coordinating and implementing youth entrepreneurship initiatives and fostering the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem for young people in Virginia. “The foundation of the new Virginia economy rests on the strength …

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Congress and MWAA VS Loudoun Taxpayers

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By Delegate Dave LaRock It’s no secret that population growth and business development have left Loudoun County, especially busy areas to the east, with some pretty challenging traffic. The process of expanding the local network of roads and transit always seems to be playing catch-up, usually tied to availability of …

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Sports

Las Vegas Tournament Good for Loudoun Teams

2 Sep 2015

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D1 Sports & Athletics 15U Spartan Elite Boys basketball team won the Gold Elite Championship out of 158 teams from across the country at the Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic on July 26. D1SA Spartan Elite defeated Drive Bounce Elite from British Columbia, Canada, in the championship game with the …

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Drew Hunter Heading To Pan American Games

7 Aug 2015

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Loudoun Valley’s Drew Hunter placed second in the United States Track and Field 1500-meter run Junior National Championship. That earned him a spot on the United States Junior Team going to the Pan American Games in Edmonton, Canada in late July. Drew lost to college freshman Blake Haney of the …

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This Month in History

July, 1776: Loudoun’s Revolution Within A Revolution

1 Jul 2015

thismonthhistory

– By Andrea Gaines Loudoun County was heavily invested in the fight for independence from Great Britain. Loudouner Francis Lightfoot Lee was one of 56 delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence. More Loudouners served in General George Washington’s army than any other county in Virginia, and the county’s enormous …

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Mary Rose Lunde

Perfection and Expectation in High School

3 Sep 2015

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde If you think about high school, what do you think about? Do you think about the sports and how important they are to some students whose only dream of getting into college is a scholarship? Do you think about the high school student struggling for an …

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Sarah's Closet

Go Pink … As Pink As You Like

1 Jul 2015

sarahcloset3

– By Sarah Nearis Look at these sweet and summery pink blouses and tops. Don’t you want to try one on? Some women are afraid to wear pink, thinking it’s a bit too feminine. But, pink comes in such a wide variety of shades – from soft mauves to fuchsias …

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Letters

Thank You Purcellville

7 Aug 2015

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I want to express my sincere appreciation for the outpouring of support by the local business owners and residents in relationship to my challenge to …

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Independence Won – Much Left To Be Done

1 Jul 2015

speak

With graduations behind us and summer vacations ahead, we have much to look forward to. My summer will be full of events and opportunities to …

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Reflections for Father’s Day, a Child’s Constitutional Rights

15 Jun 2015

Bob Ohneiser

I’ve been a licensed attorney and a father since the late 80’s. Yet, I wonder about how many of our country’s legal theories – theories …

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