Mrs. T and I have resumed our travels. At present we’re in Cape May, an island resort town at the southern tip of New Jersey, where we’ll be seeing two shows, Cape May Stage’s Doubt and the East Lynne Theatre Company’s To the Ladies. Both companies are new to me–I’ve never seen any theater in Cape May–and I’m looking forward to making their acquaintance. We’re staying at Rhythm of the Sea, a wonderful oceanside inn of which we already have the fondest possible memories, and I mean to take off enough time between shows to recover from a severe case of chronic overwork.
From Cape May we travel to Madison, New Jersey, home of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, which is presenting Laila Robins, an actress I admire greatly, in a revival of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, a play about which, as some of you will recall, I have long had my doubts. Be that as it may, the role of Blanche DuBois was made for Robins, and I wouldn’t dream of missing this production.
On Friday we return to New York, and the next morning I fly down to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Carolina Ballet, a company for which I have the utmost admiration, is giving the premiere of Robert Weiss’ Time Gallery, which is set to the music of Paul Moravec, who needs no introduction to regular readers of this blog. According to Carolina Ballet’s Web site, “Time Gallery explores the many facets of time–the cycles of life, the cycle of the day, how our memories affect our relationship to time’s passing. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec’s rhythmically complex score provides the texture upon which to build a dance through time.”
Weiss, a Balanchine-trained choreographer whose work I’ve championed for many years, is very excited about Time Gallery, whose score is a work of the same name that was premiered by Eighth Blackbird in 2001 and recorded by them for Naxos five years later. I covered the premiere for the Washington Post in my old “Second City” column:
Eighth Blackbird is a spiffy sextet from Chicago that specializes in avant-garde music of the old-fashioned, hyper-complicated sort, while Moravec is one of the accessibility-conscious “new tonalists” who are giving contemporary classical music a much-needed makeover. It’s an odd match, but Moravec had the clever idea to write a piece that deploys the whole avant-garde bag of tricks–a multimedia slide show, electronic-music interludes, even a touch of performance art–in support of a score that is unabashedly tonal and breathtakingly beautiful. I sat on the edge of my seat as each movement unfolded, acutely aware that I was hearing an important new work, perhaps even a masterpiece, for the very first time….
I couldn’t very well miss the world premiere of a ballet based on a piece like that, could I? Not hardly. So I’ll be in Raleigh long enough to catch two performances of Time Gallery on Saturday.
Then it’s back to New York for…but enough about me! Our Girl and CAAF are about to return to the blog after a long absence, so I’m going to take a week and a half off (except for the usual almanac entries and theater-related postings) and leave things to them.