December 23, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

The country music station plays soft, but there’s nothing, really nothing, to turn off.

—Bob Dylan, from “Visions of Johanna”

The volume is down as low as it can go, softer than soft, the station is Radio Beethoven, 250 on the dial of the ages, and the visions are of Ukrainian-American pianist Valentina Lisitsa communing with the adagio sostenato of Sonata number 29 in B flat major (Opus 106), known as the Hammerklavier.

The sound’s turned low because the house is asleep, it’s between 2 and 3 a.m., and I’m listening to the movement Wilhelm Kempff called “the most magnificent monologue Beethoven ever wrote,” an adagio “unequalled in the entire piano literature.” Writing about Kempff’s performance in 2013, I described “a series of ascending, probing, striving, needful, joy-seeking variations” leading to a “heaven of feeling so rich and strange that all you can think is how thankful you are that you heard it before you died.”

Watching Lisitsa play the same set of variations on YouTube in the year of the virus, I feel still closer to the music and even more at a loss to put my feelings into words; admitted, there’s a big difference between listening to Kempff on a car stereo and seeing Lisitsa lean so close to the keys that she’s nearly kissing them. She’s a Rapunzel at the keyboard with those long blond tresses, offset by a dark jacket, white cuffs protruding from the sleeves. Viewed almost entirely from the side, she presents a handsome profile, nothing self-consciously performative, no soulful swooning ah-sweet-mystery-of-life sublimity; she appears both down to earth and exalted, and wholly dedicated to her mission, everything else ruled out.  more

By Nancy Plum

With the cancellation of its principal mainstage production of Verdi’s Rigoletto last spring, Boheme Opera NJ turned this fall to a season of four online concerts showcasing the company’s roster of singers. The Path from Opera to Broadway, launched in November, featured selections from Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, as well as excerpts from lighter opera and musical theater. A Night in Vienna, presented December 2, took Boheme Opera’s online audience on a voyage to Vienna, with the music of Johann Strauss, Sigmund Romberg, Rudolf Friml, and Kurt Weill. With singers performing from their homes in many cases, Boheme Opera NJ compiled comprehensive surveys of opera and musical theater, narrated by the company’s president and series co-creator Jerrold Kalstein.  

December 9’s Unique Broadway broadcast explored composers and shows which were ground-breaking in their time, including composers and works out of the American musical theater mainstream or introducing unusual themes. Central to this survey was the music of American composer Leonard Bernstein, whom Boheme Opera NJ featured with a presentation of several clips from the company’s 2018 Bernstein Centennial performance. This concert, which took place in the College of New Jersey’s Kendall Theater and conducted by Boheme Opera music director Joseph Pucciatti, drew extensively from Bernstein’s opera Trouble in Tahiti. Leading these excerpts vocally was mezzo-soprano Amy Maude Helfer, who consistently maintained a saucy attitude onstage and good control over a disjunct vocal line. Other standouts from this concert were tenor Errin Brooks, one of the young talents encouraged by Boheme Opera NJ over the years, and baritone Joseph Lodato, who sang a selection from Les Miserables. This musical was produced at a time when the lines between opera and musical theater began to become blurred, and Lodato’s voice was well-suited for Inspector Javert’s signature song, “Stars.”   more

MOZART AND MORE: Pianist Alexander Gavryluk is guest artist with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in a virtual concert on January 10. (Photo by Marco Borggreve)

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra carries its “Your Orchestra, Your Home” series into 2021 with the Sunday, January 10, 4 p.m. broadcast of its Mozart & Saint-Georges virtual concert.

The performance features Mozart’s Serenade for Winds in C Minor, K. 388 and Joseph Bologne’s Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ Symphony No. 1 in G Major, conducted by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov. The featured guest artist is Ukrainian-born pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk who performs works for solo piano by Mozart, Johannes Brahms, and Arkady Filippenko. more

ACTORS ON ZOOM: ActorsNET celebrates the holidays by premiering a free online presentation of J.M. Barrie’s play “Dear Brutus” beginning on December 23.

ActorsNET, the Morrisville, Pa.-based troupe, celebrates the holidays by premiering a free online video presentation of Dear Brutus, a fantasy drama for grownups by J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.

The play’s title comes from a line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…” Almost all the characters are at a crossroads in their lives. “Who hasn’t wondered how his or her life might be different if they had made different choices along the way?” asked ActorsNET Artistic Director Cheryl Doyle. “Who hasn’t wondered how their careers or love lives might benefit from a second chance? Who hasn’t pondered what might have been?”

Available starting December 23 on youtube.com/TheActorsNET, Dear Brutus was adapted by Board President Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski and Charlotte Kirkby. Actors and crew observed all precautions necessary during the pandemic. The first and third acts were recorded via Zoom and the second act was shot outdoors at Ridgeview Woods in Princeton. more

“YOU ARE NEVER ALONE”: This mural, located in the main lobby of Rider University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, is one of three new works painted by local artists in collaboration with Rider students and Trenton High School students.

Rider University and Artworks, Trenton’s downtown visual arts center, recently unveiled three new murals in the University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

Painted by local artists Leon Rainbow, Marlon Davila, and David Gillespie, in collaboration with Rider University students and Trenton High School students, the murals feature a number of symbols to illustrate the wealth of diversity within the Rider community, says Dr. Pamela Pruitt, executive director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

“The symbolism in these murals represents the Rider community in broad ways,” she said. “The whole university is reflected in this space.”  more

“ROSE FISH”: This mixed media work by Japanese artist Minako Ota is featured in an upcoming exhibition of her marine creatures and other nature paintings at Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street. It will be on view January 6 through February 2, 2021.

Marine creatures and other nature paintings by an award-winning Japanese painter Minako Ota will be on display and open to the public at Small World Coffee, 14 Witherspoon Street, January 6 through February 2, 2021. It is her second show at Small World Coffee.

Born in Osaka, Japan, Ota studied traditional Japanese painting at Tama Art University in Tokyo. Upon graduation, she attended Cambridge University in England, where she focused on Western painting conservation.  more

December 16, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

Jane Austen is 245 years old today; she was a month short of 190 long ago when I found Northanger Abbey in a New Delhi railway station bookstall. The Indian paperback had a lurid cover (woman screaming) and a memorable blurb (“Cunning! Compassioned! Strangely Touchy!”). And although the paper was cheap and the print faded and irregular, Jane was there in the form of her heroine Catherine Morland, who grew up with “neither a bad heart nor a bad temper, was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome,” was “noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.” At 14, she was happier playing “cricket, baseball, riding on horseback, and running about the country” than reading books.

Baseball? If you’re reading Northanger Abbey while waiting for the 2 a.m. train to Benares, the thought of the game you love, the National Pastime, seems as far from reality as the image of Jane Austen swinging a bat, running the bases, and sliding home in a pinafore. With smartphones decades in the future, however, I had no way to check the Net for information about baseball in Regency England. At the time I figured it might be a freak of typography, another malappropriate misadventure like the blurb on the front cover. Not so. The same reference shows up in subsequent editions, as well as the Project Gutenberg ebook, and now there are blogs headed “Jane Austen Invented Baseball,” where fans match hometown players with characters in her novels. I get it. We want Jane to be cosmically applicable to all things both great and small, mundane, modern, or marvelous, and the wilder, more unconfined and unladylike the better. more

“CHRISTMAS 2.0”: Passage Theatre presented an online reading of “Christmas 2.0.” Written by Donna Hoke (above) and directed by Michelle Tattenbaum, the romantic comedy probes the extent to which social media can jeopardize interpersonal relationships. Online contact with a former classmate endangers the protagonist’s current relationship with her husband. (Photo by kc kratt)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

This is an era defined by Apple,” observes Angela, the protagonist of Christmas 2.0. Angela’s mother, in a critique of restaurant patrons she sees absorbed by their phones throughout their meals, remarks, “What’s more fascinating than the person right in front of you?”

That conversation could point to an expedient partnership between technology and live theater. Under normal circumstances, the allure of electronic devices and social media would seem to hamper theaters’ ability to attract audiences’ attention to a live show, where they (presumably) would be fascinated by the person in front of them — on stage. However, faced with the fact that live venues have been closed because of the pandemic, a growing number of theater companies are presenting shows online.

Passage Theatre has presented a reading of Christmas 2.0. Playwright Donna Hoke’s wry but charming romantic comedy, which probes the extent to which social media and overreliance on technology can jeopardize interpersonal relationships, is an example of a play that is well suited to online performances. (The New Play Exchange’s website notes that the piece was workshopped at the 2015 Hormel Festival of New Works at Phoenix Theatre, and it won third place in the Pickering Prize for Playwriting Excellence.)

Victoria Davidjohn reads the stage directions, which establish the play’s first setting as “Jeff and Angela’s middle class living room. Jeff is busy on his phone; Angela is on her computer.” Angela (whom Autumn Hurlbert infuses with down-to-earth, mild-mannered earnestness) turns away from her screen to examine the couple’s Christmas tree, which she is concerned might be crooked.  more

While there are no live performances of Princeton Youth Ballet’s (PYB) “The Snow Queen” this season, fans of the full-length work by choreographer Risa Kaplowitz can get together virtually at the “Snow Queen Soiree” on Tuesday, December 22 at 7 p.m. Jillian Davis, PYB alumna and star of Complexions Contemporary Ballet troupe, will be making a special guest appearance. Viewers can donate for a chance to win prizes including two tickets to a future PYB performance, a private lesson with Kaplowitz, a photo shoot with the company’s photographer, and more. Contact info@princetonyouthballet.org to register for the Zoom link.

NEW RESIDENCY: Visual Artist Miya Ando is one of the Artist Residency Council (ARC) members who will select 10 diverse, multi-disciplinary female artists for the first cohort of the Phillips Mill Foundation for the Arts’ New Hope Colony Artist Residency program.

The Phillips Mill Foundation for the Arts has announced the launch of its New Hope Colony Artist Residency for international artists pursuing creative and professional growth. For its inaugural residency, also known as The First Ten, the foundation formed the Artist Residency Council (ARC) composed of renowned female artists and creatives including architect Deborah Berke; visual artists Marilyn Minter and Miya Ando; furniture maker Mira Nakashima; filmmaker DeMane Davis; gallerist Leila Heller; sculptor Malene Barnett; and stage, television, and film director Liesl Tommy. These ARC members will select 10 diverse, multi-disciplinary female artists to have the honor of forming the first cohort.

All fellows are awarded stipends to offer the freedom to pursue new work without the financial pressures and limitations of daily lives, within a community of peers and among others focused on their artistic growth. Unique to this artist residency is the mentoring program whereby each fellow will be invited to seek a mentor of their choice to provide artistic feedback and encouragement throughout the four-week program, which will also combine career and business development coaching.  more

“THIRD THURSDAYS”: The next Mercer County Community College JKC Gallery Artist Talk will be held on Thursday, December 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. The event will celebrate the photography of Derek Fahsbender and Eric Lampé, whose work is seen here. The free event will be held on Zoom; registration is required. For more information, visit jkcgallery.online.

“Third Thursdays,” a monthly photography presentation offered through Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus (JKC) Gallery, will celebrate the photography of Derek Fahsbender and Eric Lampé with a virtual artist talk on December 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. The show, hosted by Michael Chovan-Dalton, director of the JKC Gallery, will take place on the Zoom conferencing platform. The public is invited and registration is required.  more

December 9, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.

—Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

John Lennon’s first solo album was released 50 years ago this week. No name appears on the cover image of a man and a woman stretched out under a massive tree, his head in her lap. The entire back cover consists of an enlarged photograph of a little boy’s face. The absence of information creates an impression of timelessness: the tree could be any tree anywhere, the couple any couple, and this most personal of recordings by one of the most famous people in the world could be by, for, or about anyone and everyone.

A few days ago when I played the half-century-old record for the first time in decades, the first sound I heard after the crackle and hiss and pop of the surface was of a bell tolling, four deeply resonant strokes. Big Ben, history, London, the Blitz, wartime, no narrator needed, the sound speaks for itself. As the fourth stroke fades, John Lennon belts out the primal word, “Mother,” and goes on to deliver a performance that does to this listener what poetry does to Emily Dickinson.

That said, the top of my head was never at risk the first time I heard John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in mid-December 1970. As impressed I was by the power of Lennon’s long-awaited, much-hyped solo album, it wasn’t easy to hear it through the chaotic static of the Paul-and-Linda, John-and-Yoko Primal Therapy fall-out of the Great Beatles Break-Up. By the time I was listening to “God,” the track everyone was talking about, with its off-puttingly prosy opening line (“God is a concept by which we measure our pain”) and the statement it was leading up to (“I don’t believe in Beatles”), I’d begun to back out of it, especially after the line “I just believe in Yoko and me.”

But then came the message of the tender, beautifully sung farewell coda: “I was the dream weaver … but now I’m John … and so, dear friends, you just have to carry on …” because “the dream is over,” — except that something deeper than a dream was in play when he sang “but now I’m John,” sealing a personal first-name connection that was still alive ten years later in the grieving crowds that gathered worldwide after his death.  more

“OHIO STATE MURDERS”: Round House Theatre and McCarter Theatre Center are presenting “Ohio State Murders.” Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, the video will be available online through February 28, 2021. Above, writer Suzanne Alexander (Lynda Gravatt) returns to her alma mater to give a lecture, whose subject matter includes her turbulent experiences as a student. (Video still courtesy of Round House Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is partnering with the Round House Theatre (in Bethesda, Maryland) to present an online festival, The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence. Kennedy is an African American playwright whose accolades include multiple Obie Awards, including Lifetime Achievement. As a press release notes, her plays are “taught in colleges throughout the country, in Europe, India, and Africa.”

This four-part festival, consisting of videos filmed by the Round House, opened with He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, in which a multi-racial couple’s letters reveal disturbing family histories; and continued with Sleep Deprivation Chamber, in which a writer seeks justice for her son when he becomes a victim of police brutality. 

Ohio State Murders is the current installmentwhich became available as of December 5Following the drama’s 1992 premiere by the Great Lakes Theater Festival, which commissioned the piece, it was included in a Signature Theatre Company season (1995-96) devoted to Kennedy’s work. Theatre for a New Audience gave the play its New York debut in 2007.

The protagonist of Ohio State Murders also is that of Sleep Deprivation Chamber: African American writer Suzanne Alexander, a partially fictionalized version of Kennedy. In both dramas, Suzanne confronts a series of incidents that has a devastating impact on her family.  more

STREAMED “NUTCRACKER” MAGIC: Lillian DiPiazza and Sterling Baca are the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker,” available online through the holiday season. (Photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

The pandemic has put live performance on hold for the foreseeable future. This is an especially cruel blow to the ballet companies that rely on sellout attendance at The Nutcracker to pay a large chunk of the bills, not to mention the eager students who make up a good portion of the cast. It is disappointing, too, for families who consider going to the timeless ballet a holiday tradition.

All is not lost. Several ballet companies are streaming previously videotaped performances, and offering them to the public for a fee that helps fund operations and keep them afloat. Here are a few:

New York City Ballet: The company associated with choreographer George Balanchine presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker December 11-January 3, on Marquee TV. The streaming is a performance from December 5, 2019 starring Maria Kowroski as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Tyler Angle as her Cavalier, and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop, along with more than 50 dancers. Andrew Litton conducts the 62-piece orchestra. Tickets are $25 and include a month’s trial of Marquee TV. Visit nycballet.com to reserve. more

THE BOSS: Bruce Springsteen is among those appearing in the documentary “WBCN and The American Revolution,” available digitally to help support the Princeton Garden Theatre and other independent community arts organization. (Photo by Barry Schneier)

The acclaimed documentary WBCN and The American Revolution is being presented by Renew Theaters, which owns the Princeton Garden on Nassau Street, along with movie houses in Ambler, Pa.; Doylestown, Pa.; and Jenkintown, Pa.

The feature-length documentary follows a cast of characters as their lives connect and intersect during the rise of the legendary radio station that became both a player in and a platform for the explosive rock ’n roll counterculture, passionate anti-war movement, and burgeoning civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights movements.

Proceeds will be shared with the Renew Theaters as part of a nationwide campaign to support community radio, independent theaters, and media arts organizations during the pandemic and create a public dialogue on how media can create social change.

 more

ART OF FLORAL DESIGN: The Arts Council of Princeton will present a virtual class on the fundamentals of floral design, led by Dawn McClatchy, on December 22 at 7 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Arts Council’s Community Programs.

Join the Arts Council of Princeton for a virtual master class on The Art of Floral Design on Tuesday, December 22 at 7 p.m. This is an opportunity to create a professional-looking centerpiece for the holidays, with all proceeds benefiting the Arts Council’s Community Programs. more

CREATIVE CLASSES: The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster is offering in-studio and online classes and workshops for artists with all levels of expertise in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, watercolor, drawing, and ceramics. The winter session begins January 11.

The Center for Contemporary Art (The Center) in Bedminster is offering in-studio and online art classes and workshops this winter for adults, teens, and children beginning January 11. Classes and workshops are offered for artists with all levels of expertise in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, watercolor, drawing, and ceramics.

The in-studio classes will be offered at The Center and online classes will be taught using the Zoom platform. On Zoom students will be able to see and interact with the teacher and other students, receive personal feedback and instruction from the teacher, participate in live demonstrations, and share their work and ideas. The Center hopes these online classes will offer an alternative for those who feel more comfortable learning from home. more

December 2, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

On December 2, 1867, Charles Dickens gave the first of 80 public readings in America, a grueling tour undertaken in spite of pleas from friends and colleagues concerned about his health. Arriving in Boston, he was welcomed by adoring crowds and the mid-19th-century equivalent of paparazzi; in New York City people began lining up at three in the morning for tickets, waiting in two lines, each almost a mile long.

In Charles Dickens, A Critical Study, novelist George Gissing refers to the “disastrous later years” that show Dickens as a “public entertainer … shortening his life that he might be able to live without pecuniary anxiety.” The American readings ended in late April 1868, earning him $250,000. He died of a stroke in early June 1870. He was only 58.

“A Dreadful Locomotive”

After attending one of the Boston readings, Ralph Waldo Emerson told the wife of Dickens’s American publisher, James T. Fields: “He has too much talent for his genius; it is a dreadful locomotive to which he is bound and can never be free from nor set at rest. You would persuade me that he is a genial creature, full of sweetness and amenities and superior to his talents, but I fear he is harnessed to them. He is too consummate an artist to have a thread of nature left. He daunts me! I have not the key.”  more

“SLEEP DEPRIVATION CHAMBER”: Round House Theatre and McCarter Theatre Center are presenting “Sleep Deprivation Chamber.” Produced in partnership with the Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University, and directed by Raymond O. Caldwell, the video will be available online through February 28, 2021. Suzanne Alexander (Kim James Bey, left) and her son Teddy (Deimoni Brewington) discuss Suzanne’s efforts to ensure justice for Teddy. (Video still courtesy of Round House Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is partnering with the Round House Theatre (based in Bethesda, Maryland) to present an online festival, The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence. The four-part series continues with a Round House video of Sleep Deprivation Chamber, which became available to view as of November 22.

The edgy production is directed by Raymond O. Caldwell. Maboud Ebrahimzadeh is the director of photography, returning from the festival’s production of He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box.

In a press release, McCarter’s Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen praises Kennedy — an African American playwright whose accolades include Obie Awards and an induction into the Theater Hall of Fame — for breaking “convention in the face of traditional barriers that prevented a much-deserved spotlight.” Round House Theatre’s Artistic Director Ryan Rilette adds that Kennedy’s plays are “beautiful, poetic conversations on race and power that are just as necessary now as they were 50 years ago.”

Sleep Deprivation Chamber premiered in 1996, presented by the Signature Theatre Company at the Public Theater. That year it won an Obie Award for Best New American Play (which it shared with another Adrienne Kennedy play, June and Jean in Concert). more

POPS IN PALMER SQUARE: As part of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s holiday season, presented virtually on weekends in December, the orchestra’s brass ensemble, shown here in Palmer Square, will play Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will present multiple free weekend broadcasts December 5-20 of its family-friendly Holiday POPS! concert. The event features holiday favorites performed by pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton, dancers of the American Repertory Ballet, and PSO musicians led by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov. As in previous years, members of the Princeton High School Choir, under the direction of Vincent Metallo, will lead the annual carol sing-along.

“We are thrilled to present this exceptional holiday showcase featuring top artists and local arts partners as an uplifting gift of thanks to all for continuing to support the arts in our community this season,” said PSO Executive Director Marc Uys.

The program includes selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker performed by Christina and Michelle Naughton, arrangements of holiday favorites played by the PSO woodwind quintet, and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride recorded by the PSO brass ensemble in Princeton’s Palmer Square. The Princeton High School Choir performs Eric Whitacre’s “Sing Gently,” and a piano trio including PSO concertmaster Basia Danilow accompanies American Repertory Ballet dancers Nanako Yamamoto and Jonathan Montepara, as they perform The Nutcracker’s Grand Pas De Deux. more

From December 2-31, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present a free holiday virtual season of performances, including a celebration of six decades of the choreographer’s “Revelations,” which the dancers are pictured performing at Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center. The month-long run will also feature world premieres by Matthew Rushing, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, and Jamar Roberts. Special family programs, a series of “BattleTalk” conversations with artistic director Robert Battle, and a farewell tribute performance by longtime company members Glenn Allen Sims and Linda Celeste Sims, are planned. Visit alvinailey.org/virtualseason for information. (Photo by Nicole Tintle)

“A CLEAR LIGHT”: “Walkway in Fall” by Claudia Fouse Fountaine, above, and “Open House” by Gail Bracegirdle, below, will be featured in a dual exhibition of their paintings, running January 7 to 31 at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.

The Artists’ Gallery of Lambertville will be showing work by Gail Bracegirdle and Claudia Fouse Fountaine from January 7 to 31 in the exhibition “A Clear Light.”

Bracegirdle said she enjoys working in watercolors because of the environmentally sensitive nature of the medium. She likes to experiment with various textures and types of watercolor papers and pigments to create specific effects. The subjects vary, depending on each day’s distractions.  

Fouse Fountaine is an award-winning Bucks County artist known for her colorful depictions of animals, interiors, and local landscapes. This show features all new work from her, done during the pandemic. Smaller in scale than usual, these paintings reflect a somewhat distilled vision, or a “clearer light.”

The Artists’ Gallery is located at 18 Bridge Street in Lambertville. Gallery hours are Thursday through
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no opening reception.

For more information, call (609) 397-4588 or visit lambertvillearts.com.

“2020 MEMBER EXHIBITION”: More than 115 pieces created by members of the Arts Council of Princeton are now on view in the Taplin Gallery at 102 Witherspoon Street, through December 19.

Each year, the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) welcomes its community of member artists to submit work to its annual “Member Exhibition.” This year, the Taplin Gallery is filled with the most art ever submitted in the history of this tradition: more than 115 pieces created by ACP’s members are currently on view for the community to enjoy, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, textile art, and more.

The ACP also invites the community to join Adam Welch, executive director, and Maria Evans, artistic director, for a Virtual Opening Reception and gallery tour on Tuesday, December 8 at 7 p.m.

The “2020 Member Exhibit” runs through December 19.

For more information, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org.

November 25, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

In his landmark celebration of translation, John Keats not only heard Chapman’s Homer speak out “loud and bold,” he put a new planet into orbit, with its kingdoms, states, islands, realms of gold, and bards.

It was Richard Burton’s “loud and bold” translation of Hamlet’s speech to the players that finally put Shakespeare on the map for me. Burton didn’t change the words, he just re-energized them, brought them to life, up close and in person on the stage of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Striding briskly back and forth, he commanded the house, still in fame’s floodlight after playing Antony on the screen with Elizabeth Taylor, the movie queen Cleopatra who came to pick him up after every performance, setting off a nightly fan-crazed mob scene on 46th Street.

Antony and Hamlet

Translation has been the theme of the moment ever since an English friend sent me his rendering of C.P. Cavafy’s poem “The God Abandons Antony.” Although I have no knowledge of Greek beyond what I picked up on the island of Mykonos, where Roger and I first met more than half a century ago, all it took to get into the game was a fondness for the poem and access to standard translations like the one by Princeton professor emeritus Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. I was playing at translation, an unsupervised amateur enjoying the ebb and flow of poetry in motion, a fluid text “writ in water,” as Keats worded it in his death bed epitaph. more

“WELCOME TO MATTESON!”: Passage Theatre presented, to ticketed viewers, an online reading of “Welcome to Matteson!” Written by Inda Craig-Galván (above), and directed by Andrew Binger, the dark comedy depicts the class tensions that erupt when a couple is forcibly relocated from a housing project to a more affluent suburb. (Photo by Julián Juaquín)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre has presented a live online reading of Welcome to Matteson! Inda Craig-Galván’s poignant comedy portrays “a suburban couple that hosts a welcome-to-the-neighborhood dinner party for their new neighbors, a couple recently (forcibly) relocated from Chicago’s roughest housing project,” notes a press release, which adds that the dinner turns out to be “anything but welcoming.”

“The play, at heart, is about how we relate to each other, how we value things over people,” Craig-Galván says. “It’s taken on sort of a different feel, now that we are in our own bubbles, and our own seclusion.”

As with Passage’s presentation of the prerecorded Panther Hollow last month, the reading was treated as a theatrical event. The purchase of a ticket entitled audiences to watch the livestream via Zoom on November 21, or the recording on YouTube through November 25.

Craig-Galván is developing new works with theater companies such as Primary Stages and Company One. She has received awards such as the Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award, Blue Ink Playwriting Prize, and Stage Raw Best Playwright Award. She is a writer on the CBS All Access series Happy Face, and previously was a writer for How to Get Away with Murder and The Rookie, both for ABC. The reading of Welcome to Matteson! is her first collaboration with Passage. more