Uncle Vanya and a couple of other things (one cent)

Just returned from a staged reading of “Uncle Vanya”, which means we have seen/heard the four classic Chekhov plays over the past month.  Because the plays are so similar to each other, you can easily get the “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen all” feeling, and you would not be wrong.  But because the four plays are each so great, it makes no difference, and seeing all four over a short period of time allows you to appreciate his theatrical talent all the more.  Now, of course we did not see them in Stanislavsky’s Russian productions.  They were in English, three in the David Mamet adaptations, and one in the Carol Rocamora/Ari Roth translation/adaptation.  The dialogue in each was snappy, and funny, and of course serious and dark.  Tonight’s production was another Theatre Lab production, with all but one of the actors being adult students.  The quality of the production was very high and (and I am not being sexist in this remark) the male actors shone.

A couple of other things:

All French movies, chosen by the covers on the DVD, are not good, I have discovered.  We watched a movie called, in English, “The Witnesses” last night or, to put it more accurately, we watched half of it.  I would suggest you avoid it if you ever are confronted with the chance to see it (which you probably won’t be).

On the other hand, I picked up a thin paperback novel, Castle Freeman, Jr.’s “All That I Have”, and enjoyed it a lot.  I bought it at a library for 50 cents to read on the Metro.  I had never heard of it, or of Freeman.  It was published by a small press.  It didn’t increase my knowledge any, but it did provide diversion.  A small time Vermont sheriff, who believes it letting things play out on their own,  who doesn’t want to arrest the local kid whom everybody thinks belongs behind bars, and who winds up having to figure out what to do about the mysterious Russians who rented the house out in the country.

And, unexpectedly, we were back at Zaytinya, and my three choices, shish taouk (chicken on skewers), Adana kebab (moderately spiced lamb sausage), and zucchini/cheese patties, turned out to be unbeatable.


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