The economic arguments of this summer has been recycled so many times that it bores us silly. The Donald wants to have trade wars. It is still a terrible idea. The Democrats, well, most of them, want to have the government take over health care and raise the minimum wage to $15. In Venezuela, where they have tried these and more socialist ideas, has gone someplace in a hand basket.
Sidebar One: OK, a $15 minimum wage isn’t a socialist idea. It often comes from socialists and it is a really, really bad idea for poor people but socialism is not the only bad economic idea. End Sidebar One.
We are already on record as opposing these ideas so there isn’t much to say on that front. The good news is that there have been interesting movies, plays, and books enjoy and comment on. We are sure that the politicians will come up with some new ideas (and perhaps even a good one) soon but until then we want to discuss The Servant Of Two Masters at Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) and Twelfth Night at American Players Theatre (APT).
Sidebar Two: We went to the Twelfth Night wondering if we had seen it before. We left the show wondering why it had that title. Wikipedia tell us it is called the Twelfth Night or What You Will which is only a slight improvement. The main title comes from the Twelfth Night’s entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. So if you can connect music and disorder to that night then you might remember the play. End Sidebar Two.
Servant is a fun play. GRSF, as we have mentioned, does not have the stage or the company that APT has. They handle their lack of resources admirably in Servant but it shows from time to time. Trying to remember who is whom and when can get tricky. In the madcap scene where stuff is getting thrown around there needs to be better choreography or perhaps more players. One ingenious part of the play (we don’t know if it is a GRSF invention or not) is using an audience member to play the Doctor. Not The Doctor. Three or four members of the audience try out and one is picked. An actor has a frying pan (yup) that says Yes on one side and Humbug on the other. The Doctor says the word when prompted. It is a fun play. If you can’t make it this year then make plans for next July to see the next season.
Sidebar Three: It is tough to compare other places to APT. We have been going there for almost 30 years. We know these folks and the stage. We go to various celebrations so we see the actors and other professionals up close and personal. We like to attend opening night to see the other actors in the audience. Actors make for a great audience. Watching them is almost as interesting as the show. End Sidebar Three.
Despite the last paragraph, we are convinced that Twelfth Night is an epic APT success. David Daniel was born to play the prat Malvolio. Ted Deasy, a relative newcomer to APT, is wonderfully unaware as Sir Andrew. It is a sad joy to see his concern as he begins to realize just how unaware he is. Coleen Madden shines as Maria. The best part is the choreography of Sir Toby (Triney Sandoval), Sir Andrew, and Fabian (Phoebe Gonzalez) with the plants (really, check the gallery) as Malvolio dithers. The timing and organization of this madcap scene are great. Yes, the leads are great but you expect that. What makes APT so engaging is the quality of the whole cast, the details of costumes, and professional use of the stage. And, of course, all up-the-hill plays are outside in a beautiful amphitheater with trees all around and, hopefully, stars in the heavens as well as on stage. APT still has over a month to run. If you can’t make it this year APT should be on your bucket list.