Friday, March 18, 2005

Ithacans, for Better and for Worse

The good news: my dear friend Gabriel Shanks is one of those precious few souls working full-time in the theater who is both brilliant and kind-hearted. How many others can say as much? This is already good news in itself, but it gets better, twice. For one, Gabriel will be directing a production of Bertolt Brecht's Edward II from September 8-25, 2005, at the Bank Street Theatre in NYC's West Village. Last year, I saw a piece that Gabriel wrote and directed called Stealing Pears, which was freely, darkly, and lusciously adapted from the final chapters of Cervantes' Don Quixote, and it was a high-point in my last few years of theater-going. Anyone in or near NYC should buy tickets now for Edward II. (Type "Creative Mechanics" or "Edward the 2nd" in the Search window to find the show; neither "Edward II" nor "Edward ii" works.)

Even sooner on the calendar, Gabriel's theater company, Creative Mechanics, will be producing an evening of nine short plays, collectively billed as Stage This!, on April 4 in the Y on 344 East 14th St, also in Manhattan. The nine entrants were selected from an international contest, and would'nt'cha know, one of the winners is David Guaspari, from right here in Ithaca, NY! Good on you, David, whoever you are (I've probably passed you in Wegman's, or sat next to you on a TCAT bus), and good on Gabriel and his talented troupe! (The photo here is from Gabriel's much-fêted 2004 production of The Fall of the House of Usher; more of these stylish and decadent production photos are available at the Creative Mechanics website linked above.)

This news tickles me so much that I almost hate to put what follows in the same blog entry, but here goes: Paul Wolfowitz, one of the sadist-savants behind Gulf War II (and the infamous comb-licker of Fahrenheit 9/11), is Bush's nominee to head the World Bank. Word around Washington was that his runner-up selections were Oliver North, Star Jones-Reynolds, and the Tasmanian Devil. Wolfowitz is such a gruesome person that I almost can't bear to joke about him, and so aptly named that I almost don't need to, but the last laugh is on me, because it turns out Wolfie is from Ithaca! Graduated from Ithaca High School and Cornell. And here I thought everyone reared in Ithaca grew up to be a hemp activist, a literary critic, or a gardener of herbs, or at least an author of short plays. Maybe Wolfowitz will go see Edward II and learn something about intolerance, cynical politicking, and the just desserts of petty zealots.

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