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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…

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…

Jitney ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 8 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1982; Broadway 2017 Setting: 1977; Becker’s cab station, Pittsburgh Act I.i (morning?) Youngblood accuses “old man” Turbo of cheating in checkers; Turbo accuses Fielding of drinking his gas money; Youngblood turns down a grocery run, which Turbo takes; Youngblood gets defensive at Doub’s silent look; Shealy the numbers runner describes seeing the face of the one woman he loves in all…

Two Trains Running ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 7 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1990 (Broadway 1992) Setting: 1969; Memphis’s small restaurant, Pittsburgh Act I.i Memphis (hard-working and honest) complains that Wolf (notorious numbers runner) is tying up his phone; Risa (waitress with self-scarred legs) doles out sugar at Wolf’s request; Memphis complains his “old lady” left him and wouldn’t even shake his hand; Holloway (whose anger at injustice draws him to the supernatural) describes…

Fences ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 6 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1985 Setting: 1957; 1965; Troy Maxon’s lived-in backyard, Pittsburgh A prose prologue contrasts the experience of European immigrants who were embraced by cities, with the opposition faced by the descendants of African slaves. I.i. (Friday evening) Troy (large man) and Bono (his “follower”) “engage in a ritual of talk and drink.” Troy is hoping his union will back his push to…

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Seven Guitars ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 5 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1995 Setting: 1948, backyard of a house, Pittsburgh I.i. (Sunday; right after Floyd’s funeral) Louise sings a “bawdy song” as Red Carter and Canewell squabble over pie; Canewell admire’s the preacher’s sermon, and Vera reports seeing six angels that came out of the sky; Canewell and Red Carter confirm they saw the group and spoke to a man from the group;…

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The Piano Lesson ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 4 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1987;  Broadway & Pulitzer Prize 1990 Setting: 1930s, Doaker’s house, Pittsburgh Scene description mentions an old upright piano with legs carved in African style. I.i. (5am) Offstage Boy Willie calls, waking Doaker (severe, settled railroad cook). BW introduces Lymon, from “back home.” He asks for Bernice. They have driven from Mississipi in Lymon’s truck, full of watermelons to sell. He tells…

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom ( #AugustWilson #CenturyCycle, 3 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1984. Setting: a recording studio in Chicago, 1927. 10 characters An opening note describes the context of the city and the significance of blues music. Act I Money-man Sturdyvant orders manager Irvin to keep “her” in line. To Sturdyvant, this is all just business. When band leader Cutler, bassist Slow Drag, and pianist Toledo enter, Sturdyvant is annoyed that Ma isn’t…

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (August Wilson’s Century Cycle, 2 of 10)

August Wilson’s Century Cycle >  Spoiler-free scene breakdown Premiered: 1988. Setting: The Hollys’ boarding house, Pittsburgh. 1911. 11 characters (a fairly large cast for a drama, including 2 children who would typically be double-cast; not an easy play to produce) Long stage directions before the first scene describe the children of freed slaves moving north. I.1 (morning) Ornery Seth describes to his long-suffering wife Bertha the “heebie-jeebie” pidgeon-blood ritual that…