Archive for April 2011

Happy Birthday Johsel Namkung

Earlier in April photographer Johsel Namkung celebrated his 92 birthday. Perhaps you saw his remarkable nature photographs at the Seattle Art Museum in 2006, his most recent local exhibition. His work is widely held in museum and personal collections. Though born in Korea, he’s been based in Seattle for many years, and his scenes of our beautiful Northwest are awe-inspiring. Check him out on HistoryLink.org.

 

Trader Joe’s Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount Theatre

Well you missed it! April 25 ended the current season with Buster Keaton in the uproariously funny “Cameraman.” The next season of silent movies doesn’t take place until this winter, but you’d be wise to put it on your calendar now. These Monday night treats bring to Seattle’s Paramount Theatre restored films from the early days of cinema, accompanied by the wonderful music of the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ played by master organist Jim Riggs.

Trader Joe’s not only sponsors the series, but provides munchies too, and each week there’s a drawing for theatre tickets and grocery bags filled with TJ’s goodies. This is one of Seattle’s lesser-known delights. Most people learn about it through word of mouth. So, from my mouth to yours—Look for it late this year.

 

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Oh that greedy Falstaff, the wenching, quaffing, conniving, hail fellow well met at the center of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” we love his bluster and adore witnessing his comeuppance. John Patrick Lowrie, Seattle Shakespeare’s Falstaff brings the full range of Falstaff’s personality to the stage. He’s a larger than life presence, just as he should be.

Candace Vance as Mistress Ford and Leslie Law as Mistress Page, the two married women who have caught Falstaff’s eye, are equally well cast. These tricky ladies know just how to handle a scheming letch, and they do it with panache. The contrasts in their physical appearance and costume make them all that much better conspirators.

Gavin Cummins as Dr. Caius has the most deliciously awful French accent and makes the perfect buffoon. Young Luke Porter as Robin creates a sweet stage persona, but his shrill voice was difficult to understood.

“Merry Wives of Windsor” is one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays, and the only one that he wrote about the England of his time. And if we are to judge his society by this work, it was a period of greed and deceptions. So of course, it resonates today, as it no doubt did then.

As in all Shakespeare plays, the plot is far more convoluted than I’ve revealed. And it’s all presented in lush period costumes and with the occasional inclusion of fine music. Cheers to Terry Edward Moore who directed this delightful confection.

Through May 15 at the Center House Theatre, Seattle Center. (206 733-8222 or www.seattleshakespeare.org).

 

American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell” at Tacoma Art Museum

Norman Rockwell is undoubtedly one of our nation’s most popular painters, and now you have an opportunity to see  every one of his 323 covers for the “Saturday Evening Post” as well as 44 of the paintings from which the covers were taken. It’s the paintings that really dazzle, proving him a great artist as well as an illustrator. For a full review of the show, see my review in The Seattle Times, NWTicket Section, April 15.

Through May 30 at the Tacoma Art Museum (253-272-4258 or www.TacomaArtMuseum.org)

“Oh Lovely Glowworm, or Scenes of Great Beauty” produced by New Century Theatre Company”

“Glowworm” is magical, comical, and intellectually challenging theatre produced by a company that has wowed audiences with its first three productions. If you like innovation, the absurd, and Samuel Beckett, you’ll love this prize-winning play. If you prefer straightforward plot, it will be a challenge, but one well worth taking.

In the play are two soldiers, bosom buddies willing to kill one another for love. But there’s also an aspiring scientist who yearns to invent the flush toilet, despite the ridicule of his cranky old mother.  Add to that mix a gorgeous mermaid/siren floating on a bar of soap in a roiling lake. All this is seen through the eyes of a stuffed goat that spent its life tethered to a garbage heap, in Ireland in the early years of the 20th Century. The goat can’t see or hear so it has constructed a world with beautiful scenes in its mind.

This production is glorious. The set includes two-story tall swans that float gracefully about, and a moon that’s even bigger. There’s wonderful background music evoking the era. Each one of the actors is remarkable, and, as an ensemble, their timing is superb.

The play includes unforgettable lines like, “A man is to be judged by what he attempts, not by what he accomplishes.”  For those who are willing to be challenged, this attempt offers accomplished theatre.

Through May 14 by New Century Theatre Company (www.newcenturytheatrecompany.org)