March

March

Before it goes out like a lamb, it’s time to talk about the month of March.  Looking back in history we’ll remember this month, in 2020, as the time when the Coronavirus grew exponentially in the U.S.A.  Not that we weren’t forewarned, by the explosion taking place in Europe, preceded by China, and Iran, etc., etc.. in previous weeks. Covid-19’s here to stay for a long time; forty five days until we see a peak, eighteen months before life goes back to normal, if it ever does.  In the long haul a positive outcome to this situation can be found within ourselves; find ways to beat it psychologically, remain optimistic, and use it to be more creative and productive in our personal lives.  Take up painting, the piano, reading novels, writing as much as we can.  How can we reach out, and help others, and bring them into our lives?  What special talents do we have that we can share?  There are certainly people living in a more precarious habitat, in which I’m living.  Selfishly I hope I don’t catch the virus, or be a carrier and less selfishly, pass it on to someone else.  So, where do we go from here? The answer seems to be nowhere, nothing versus something, and now being never.  What is true is we are all vulnerable.  No-one is exempt.

Back to March.  What do we know about this third month of the calendar year, which during Roman Times was the first, and not the third of the year?  A month named after the god of war, called Mars. Special days in particular yearn to be celebrated.  Such as St. Patrick’s day, on the 17th, especially by the Irish, but even if you haven’t an ounce of Irish in your blood, you’re always welcome to partake in Irish generosity.

On the 15th of March, back in Roman Times, an old woman warned Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.”  Against his wife’s best wishes Caesar ignored the oracle and ventured out into the Roman forum only to be assassinated, and find moments before he fell to his death that his best friend had betrayed him; thus the famous quote “Et tu Brutus?”  The circumstance is a reminder to follow the wisdom of Shakespeare spoken in one of his plays “Love all, trust a few, and do wrong to no-one.”  And, in the wake of the Corona19, to listen to the oracle; Stay home, protect yourselves, and others.

Since I am a curious person, who seeks novelty in all things possible to brush away the the sins of idleness, and boredom, I have a trivia fact for March.  Does anyone know what September, October, November and December stand for?  I found this out the other day through a post by the Farmer’s Almanac.  The meaning of the prefixes of these months in latin follow suit with March being the first month of the year, for Sept means seven, Octo, eight, Nove, nine, and Dece, ten.  So whatever happened to January and February?  There is an answer, but at this moment, I can only say; “I do not know it.”  Just like there are answers surrounding the mysteries of the Coronavirus, but for now uncertainty reigns, and only time will tell.

Memory as Tribute, in a Cosmic World

Written a  year ago…

This post is a tribute to Edward Albee, in the wake of his death, and to Ron Perrier, who was my Professor of Theatre at University of Wisconsin at River Falls, in 1974.  The two converge in my life. The course I studied with Ron, was related to the American Theatre. We read the greats, like Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, and Eugene O’Neil, and yes, Edward Albee, who was just coming out as a very controversial playwright in the ’70’s. Mr. Albee was famous for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf”, “Zoo Story”, “A Delicate Balance” and many more. Ron directed “A Delicate Balance”, (now one of my favorite plays), for the RF summer theatre that same year.

Dr. Perrier opened my eyes to many facets of the world of the stage, but something very memorable was when he brought Edward Albee, en persona, as artist in residence, to River Falls, the same year I took the American Theatre course. We were to have read all of Albee’s current works, and to be ready to respond, when our visiting artist came to our very small class to speak. For me, as a small town 19 year old, Albee was pretty Avant-garde, and even though I participated in a limited way, I was aware something very important in the Arts, was going on.

Now that Albee is gone, Ron remains, as an emeritus professor at the university in St. Cloud, Minnesota, writing books, loving his students, and still involved in the theatre, as I understand it. I’m sure he’s touched many lives and opened the eyes of many students, other than myself. I’d like to remember him here, and show how cosmic the world really is, when memory is jogged, and to give credit to two very accomplished men.

May Edward Albee Rest in Peace.

On Doing the Right Thing

The recent discosure of Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarizing makes me think of something which happened a long while back. When I was a freshman in college I had to write a paper for a ‘Theatre History’ class. When Professor Ron Perrier returned it to me, I was shocked and distraught to find I got a big fat “D” with a comment that said; “You have plagiarized and lifted directly from Brockett’s “The Theatre – An Introduction”.” I can honestly say I was totally unaware that I had done what I did and felt horrible for my mistake. This is before we had ‘copy and paste’ and before students were stretched on the rack and expelled for academic inauthenticity. It was an excellent lesson and I am glad I learned it in college, which at that time seemed like the only place I wanted to be.

No one is perfect, nor is there any guarantee we won’t, as hard as we try, but hopefully not, make the same mistake twice. Fareed Zakaria, unlike the young naive college student, should know better, if indeed it was plagiarism. He needs to explain himself. As he does so, I will be reminded to take care and be aware, and do the right thing as I express myself with the written word.  Perhaps he never had a professor who taught him the lesson I was taught in college.

And to help – I still have the book!

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just let things be

There is nothing like summer theatre and “The Odd Couple”, by Neil Simon, to take our minds off pending summer projects and step into another reality.

In this hilarious comedy, type A personality, Felix Unger, is booted out of the house by his wife Frances.  To his good fortune, Oscar Madison, his slovenly poker playing friend, takes him under his wing. After living together for a short time as divorcees, Oscar and Felix discover they are extreme incompatible opposites.  What happens in the “Odd Couple” is that Felix, a neatnik, can’t stand to see anything out of its place and begins to drive Oscar nuts with all his nitpicking ways.

We soon realize that the result is not more order but chaos when Felix’s compulsive behavior is imposed upon Oscar’s happy go lucky nature. Oscar is virtually going insane and Felix once again finds himself out on the street only to be taken in by the British Pigeon sisters.  Once Felix leaves, peace and harmony are ironically restored to Oscar’s life and “order” becomes a matter of opinion.  

“The Odd Couple” appeals to us in so many ways.  Set in New York City, it perfectly mirrors reality and our own foibles. This wonderfully enjoyable play can teach us to strike a balance and live sanely with others, or at best, just let things be.

Now for the the summer projects…

 

Man of La Mancha…

Man of La Mancha

Miguel de Cervantes

“I shall impersonate a man. His name is Alonso Quijana, a country squire no longer young. Being retired, he has much time for books. He studies them from morn till night and often through the night and morn again, and all he reads oppresses him; fills him with indignation at man’s murderous ways toward man. He ponders the problem of how to make better a world where evil brings profit and virtue none at all; where fraud and deceit are mingled with truth and sincerity. He broods and broods and broods and broods and finally his brains dry up. He lays down the melancholy burden of sanity and conceives the strangest project ever imagined – -to become a knight-errant, and sally forth into the world in search of adventures; to mount a crusade; to raise up the weak and those in need. No longer will he be plain Alonso Quijana, but a dauntless knight known as Don Quixote de La Mancha.”