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Disaster (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 5) Picard Trapped in Elevator with Weeping Moppets

Rewatching ST:TNG A character-based bottle episode (no off-ship locations), in which the Enterprise randomly bumps into a Space Thing that gives the writers an excuse to force all the main characters into odd groupings where they must act against type. The grumpy captain is trapped in an elevator with weeping moppets; the warrior must deliver a baby; the optimistic counsellor faces a harsh command decision; the doctor and the engineer…

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Silicon Avatar (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 4) Grieving Xenobiologist Pursues Crystalline Entity

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker does some seriously exposition-friendly flirting with a civilian engineer whose fledgling colony turns out to be the next target for the Crystalline Entity, a big Space Thing that slurps up all life on a planetary scale. We spend just enough time here on Melona to care about the colony, which, fortunately for the on-location filming budget, is mostly a bunch of jumpsuited extras in park with random…

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Darmok (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 2) Picard of the Federation, His Metaphors Timely

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation After an awkward encounter with aliens whose language is incomprehensible, Picard finds himself on a strange planet. The alien captain, holding two daggers, offers one to Picard, saying “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.” When I first saw this episode, as a young grad student in a crowded room full of my regular Trek-watching friends, of course I thought of the classic Star Trek episode…

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Redemption, Part II (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 1) Klingon Empire Wages Civil War

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation The teaser opens with Worf serving on Kurn’s ship, and being scolded for second-guessing his younger brother’s aggressive tactics. Picard convinces an admiral to agree to a blockade, to prevent or expose Romulan support of the Duras faction. LaForge’s new strategy for detecting cloaked Romulan vessels requires a network of many ships, but because the script requires it some of them are barely functional…

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Redemption, Part I (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 26) Klingon Empire Faces Civil War

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation While en route to the Klingon Homeworld to participate in the installation of Gowron as the new leader of the High Council, Picard prompts Worf to take the opportunity to regain his family honor. Worf prefers to wait. Gowron is annoyed when Picard declines to use force to back his faction, and intrigued when Worf explains that his own father was blamed for treason…

The Current War (Quantum Theatre Musical)

Waiting for The Current War to start. I haven’t seen live professional theater in a long time. I saw lots of good video theater, but it’s just not the same. [Addendum] I really enjoyed the show. I knew a bit about Edison and Westinghouse, but I was surprised (and delighted) at how skillfully the writer, director, and cast embedded the story of William Kemmler, the first man to be executed…

First time visiting the Point. Listening to Quantum’s 10 for 21 (audio adaptation of the Decameron, set on a pandemic-era walk through Pittsburgh).

My first time visiting the Point. Listening to 10 for 21 — Quantum Theatre’s audio adaptation of The Decameron, directed by John Shepard, adapted by Martin Giles, with sound design by Steve Shapiro. The voice talent is phenomenal, with ensemble moments that nicely frame the intimate and personal storytelling sessions. I live about an hour away from Pittsburgh, and though I do go into the city regularly (or I did,…

Behold this stack of August Wilson library books

Yay, libraries. I’m delighted that my college library has a full set of August Wilson’s plays. I’ve had them all checked out for a couple months, but I’m finished with them for now. During the Christmas break I taught a special topics course on Wilson’s Century Cycle. I thought it was too much to expect students to read all 10 plays during an intensive course that lasts for just 3…

Quantum Theatre’s “Far Away” is an enigmatic abstraction, grounded by psychologically deep performances.

Quantum Theatre’s streaming production of “Far Away” is an enigmatic abstraction, grounded by psychologically deep performances. In an unstable landscape of shifting allegiances, just how much faith can we have in own senses, our family members, our co-workers, our own creative impulses, our government, and nature itself? Known for making theatre happen in unusual spaces, Quantum has mounted a thoughtful, intelligent video production of Caryl Churchill’s absurdist evisceration of trust.…

Fun and Games with Samuel Beckett and Pict.

Beckett’s masterpiece Waiting For Godot was once famously described as ‘the play where nothing happens – twice.’ First produced in French and then re-written by Beckett into English, it remains one of the most significant plays of the twentieth century. Beckett described it as a tragi-comedy: it has as much comedy within the characters and the plot as it does tragedy, and is, perhaps, the ultimate play concerning the human…

Radio Golf ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 10 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 2005; Broadway 2007 Setting: 1997; office of Bedford Hills Redevelopment Co. Small cast — just 5 actors. I.i (Office of Bedford Hills Redeveloment, Inc.) Mame is unimpressed with the tin ceiling Harmond is excited about, saying it won’t do for a campaign office. He wants to put his campaign office in the Hill District, where he’s from, but the professional and…

King Hedley II ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 9 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1999; Broadway 2001 Setting: 1985; backyard of row houses; Pittsburgh Hill District Prologue (starry night) Stool Pigeon, clicking ham bones, monologues to an offstage cat (which belongs to Aunt Ester). “The story’s been written. All that’s left now is the playing out.” I.i King (30s), ex-con with scarred face, plants seeds; his mother Ruby (60) asks him about getting a phone…