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All Good Things… (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 25) Picard faces a timey-wimey puzzle in three different timelines

Rewatching ST:TNG When we all first met the crew of the Enterprise-D, I was an undergraduate living in a dorm at the University of Virginia. Seven years later, I was a Ph.D. student in a dorm at the University of Toronto. I saw the series finale on a channel that was hosting a huge live watch party at what was then known as Toronto’s SkyDome. When a certain iconic spaceship appeared and blew a hole through a hostile vessel, through my open windows I could hear a huge roar from the 40,000 trekkers watching a few blocks away. I’ve really…

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Firstborn (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 21) Worf prepares his reluctant son for a rite of passage

Rewatching ST:TNG Worf awkwardly rehearses a speech to prepare Alexander for a rite of passage. Doused by a water balloon intended for Alexander, Worf bungles the speech. He’s even more rattled when Alexander admits he doesn’t want to become a warrior. Picard suggests Worf visit a nearby Klingon outpost for an upcoming festival. Wide-eyed Alexander is enchanted by a participatory street theater bat’leth opera, and runs off to see the sights with friends (mentioned only in dialog). When three bad guys surround Worf and Alexander, a stranger steps in to help fight them off. K’Mtar says he was sent by…

How Not to Hate Shakespeare

The problem isn’t Shakespeare—it’s how he’s been taught. […] Since Shakespeare’s work is “not of an age but for all time,” as Ben Jonson famously put it, I suggest that you get over your Bardophobia and embrace your inner Bardolator. Trust me, it’s worth it. First, you need to relax. You’re not stupid. You’re not a philistine. Shakespeare didn’t write in “olde English” (a common misconception), but his “early modern English” still causes problems for audiences. Shakespeare’s language is about 90 percent the same as the English we speak today, but that ten percent can be irritating. For instance, certain…

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (workshop premiere of a new musical by Greg Kerestan)

I really enjoyed seeing the first workshop performance of SHU alum Greg Kerestan’s original horror-comedy musical, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” based on the classic 1920 German expressionist silent film. The music is powerful, and the cast is hilarious and creepy, in all the right proportions.   The daughter plays a ballet mistress socialite (and is also the choreography & assistant director).   You have one more chance to see this show (which is accepting donations). Today at 7pm, in the Performing Arts Center at Seton Hill University.

Jerry Lewis’s Costars Speak Out: “He Grabbed Me. He Began to Fondle Me. I Was Dumbstruck”

As a kid I watched Jerry Lewis movies when they turned up on the local independent TV channels, and typically when I was home from school on  Labor Day, I would watch at least part of his muscular dystrophy telethons. I’m saddened to read allegations about yet another established male professional using his position of power to manipulate a younger female artist by demanding sexual favors. Demanding? Requesting? Suggesting? Semantics. The huge power differential makes anything resembling “consent” very problematic. Leading lady Karen Sharpe reports that after she resisted a crude sexual overture from Lewis, she found herself punished with…

Why Marlon Brando’s Streetcar Co-Stars Couldn’t Stand Him

Williams’ last play, The Glass Menagerie, had been a hit, but Streetcar was still a risk. A name star would make the show a surer thing. Besides, wasn’t this kid too young for the part? Kazan persisted. Selznick agreed to cast Brando, but only if they could get him to audition for Williams at the playwright’s house in Provincetown. Brando told Kazan he had no money to make the trip. Kazan gave the young actor bus fare and told Williams to expect him. Brando was always irresponsible, but his irresponsibility reached spectacular heights when he was ambivalent and conflicted, as he was about…

Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, Now a Rich Man, Receives a Letter from His HOA

Dear Tevye, This letter is to inform you that you are in gross violation of the rules of this Homeowners’ Association (HOA). Please note the following infractions: Your contract allows for a modest structure in the prevailing style of the neighborhood. It does not allow for a big tall house with rooms by the dozen. Your building permit was for the lot at 161 Maple Street. Instead, you built a house right in the middle of the town, a commercial district not zoned for residential use. […] Your yard is filled with chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks. They…

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Frame of Mind (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 6, Episode 21) Riker is an asylum inmate who hallucinates he’s a Starfleet officer rehearsing a play about an asylum inmate

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker overprepares for a role in “Beverly’s play,” which distracts him during his briefing for an undercover mission, so that Worf accidentally cuts him while demonstrating a ceremonial knife. The night of the performance, the crowd applauds enthusiastically, but Riker is disturbed when he notices in the crowd a humanoid alien he had bumped in the corridor before. Suddenly the setting shifts, and Riker finds himself in a real cell that resembles the play set, where an alien tells him he’s an inmate who’s been having delusions about serving on a starship. Riker is confused, but resigns himself…

Smalltalk through masks is hard; I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at last night’s six-theatre Sondheim tribute

If you said hello to me recently and I didn’t seem interested in smalltalk, but just raised my eyebrows, made friendly sounds, and drifted on, I hope I didn’t seem indifferent. I really was glad to see so many familiar upper halves of faces at the Lamp Theatre last night, but it was also kind of overwhelming. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly bad at recognizing faces (see this Post-Gazette article on my colleague Lee McClain), but I’m definitely not as good as I was in my youth, when I spent more of my day around a flow of people whose…

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Father David Hudgins RIP | In His Own Words

My friend from high school passed away a few days ago. What an amazing preacher. So intelligent, so approachable, so passionate. What a loss to the Diocese of Lansing and everyone who knew and loved him.   I am laughing through my tears at his aside, “I want to smack ’em!”   (I knew him through the Drama Club and really enjoyed our scenes together, especially in Our Town, where I played the Stage Manager and he played George.)  

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In December 2001 I was blogging about

In December 2001, I was blogging about Changes in Online Culture The End of Free (chronicles services that used to be free but that now cost money) Is the [Technology] Revolution Over? Imagine Silicon Valley Buried Like Pompeii Wil Wheaton While the character of teen wonder Wesley Crusher was annoying because weak scripts had him saving the ship too many times, I wrote this blog page that traced early references to Wesley on rec.arts.startrek, a Usenet fan site that predated the World Wide Web. The young actor who portrayed Wesley was sadly the target of some online abuse, but over…

‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ Review: The Thane, Insane, Slays Mainly in Dunsinane

What a headline. The poet John Berryman wrote of “Macbeth” that “no other Shakespearean tragedy is so desolate, and this desolation is conveyed to us through the fantastic imagination of its hero.” The universe of the play — a haunted, violent patch of ground called Scotland — is as dark and scary as any place in literature or horror movies. This has less to do with the resident witches than with a wholesale inversion of moral order. “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” Trust is an invitation to treachery. Love can be a criminal pact or a motive for revenge.…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In November 2001 I was blogging about

In November 2001, I was blogging about Florida recounts would have favored Bush (contentions election famous for a Florida ballot that many voters found confusing) Is this a burger which I see before me, / The soft bun in my hand? Come, et me clutch thee. / I eat thee not, and yet I want thee still. (McDonald’s Soliloquy)’ The Tyranny of Nicespeak Treating users with disabilities as people What if David Mamet rewrote 2001: A Space Odyssey?  

So glad to be attending another live theatrical production. @quantumtheatre never disappoints.

Projections, live music, sounds, props, costumes, scene changes, casting, performances… everything spot-on and professional. A moving, deeply relevant story, with lots of flawed characters whose story arcs were rich and engaging. The mystery was well-executed, with subtle details (parallels, echoes, clever misdirection) that amplified the plot twists. Very powerful. I leapt to my feet applauding as soon as it ended.

WAOB MisSpelled (final episode airs)

The final episode of the fantasy/comedy audio miniseries “MisSpelled” drops today. A full voice cast, sound effects, original music, and a great story. I only wish I had met more of the cast in person!  We were churning out these recordings in groups right before the pandemic. As the lockdown eased up, I returned to the studio to record my lines separately. So I often didn’t know what some of the characters would sound like, nor exactly how they were delivering the lines I was reacting to. I often tried three or four different ways of delivering a line, trusting…