“Children are not deceived by fairy-tales; they are often and gravely deceived by school-stories. Adults are not deceived by science-fiction; they can be deceived by the stories in the women’s magazines.”—C. S. Lewis on fantasy vs. fact, a timeless and timely reminder of the role of critical thinking in making sense of the stories we’re told. (via explore-blog)
“The Great Poe Debate:
Now, that the 200th anniversary of his birth (Jan. 19, 2009) has passed, three cities – Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia — are battling to claim him, not just with competing bicentennial events but with a spirited and mostly good-humored debate over who has the greatest right to his legacy. For a poet and short-story writer devoted to elegy and horror, a man whose great subject was death, such posthumous popularity is rich in irony. But the debate also raises some serious questions – about what constitutes a literary blood tie, and why claims of legacy should matter centuries later.”—
In conjunction with The Whipping Man’s run, this new historical account is fueling much discussion lately:
“On December 17, 1862, as the Civil War entered its second winter, General Ulysses S. Grant issued a sweeping order, General Orders #11, expelling “Jews as a class” from his war zone. It remains the most notorious anti-Jewish official order in American history.
The order came back to haunt Grant in 1868 when he ran for president. Never before had Jews been so widely noticed in a presidential contest, and never before had they been confronted so publicly with the question of how to balance their “American” and “Jewish” interests.
During his two terms in the White House, the memory of the “obnoxious order” shaped Grant’s relationship with the American Jewish community. Surprisingly, he did more for Jews than any other president to his time. How this happened, and why, sheds new light on one of our most enigmatic presidents, on the Jews of his day, and on America itself.”
“To the fairy tale onslaught hitting television (the series “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm”), movies (“Mirror Mirror,” the coming “Snow White and the Huntsman”) and theater (the Delacorte Theater’s revival of “Into the Woods” this summer) add “The Ash Girl””—‘The Ash Girl,’ at Connelly Theater - NYTimes.com
From fabulous veteran TD Tom Rupp, this account of the technical wizadry behind the stage magic of the onstage rain in The Whipping Man:
There are several ways to create a rain effect on stage. From a small drizzle outside a window to a real downpour. One has to consider how to get the rain on stage, but more importantly how to get rid of it. There are six major areas of consideration, Supply, Storage, Delivery, Recovery, Control, and Noise
We used two different techniques for the rain for “The Whipping Man”. The effect over the windows is quite simple. We attached a sheet of Plexiglas on the back of the window frame.
We then put silicone caulk around the frame to seal it. The Supply and storage is a five gallon bucket. The delivery is a piece of ½” PVC with1/8” holes on 3” centers spraying onto the top of the window. The PVC tube is capped at both ends with a “T” fitting in the middle. We used a3/8” tubing to the “T” to a submersible pond pump which sits in the five gallon bucket.
Recovery is a standard gutter with a downspout emptying into the five gallon bucket. We controlled the pumps from the light board turning them on and off with cues called by the Stage Manager. The noise was deadened with open cell foam, the type you would find in a window unit Air Conditioner.
The rain seen behind the circular stair case was a little more involved. The supply was a standard hose hooked up to a sink backstage so the storage was city water. The delivery was three 8’-0” long ½” PVC tubes following the curve of the wall. We took the ½” PVC and bolt it in the middle of a piece of 4” PVC. The ½” PVC has 1/8” holes on 3” centers drilled into the top of the PVC. The 4” PVC has a ¼” slot on the Bottom of the PVC. We insert a 6”strip of screen wire on the ¼” slot which we fray and fold in a random pattern. The water shoots up to the top of the 4” PVC and rolls down the sides. The screen helps break it up, so it does not look like a sprinkler.
The recovery was a little tricky. The current stage is 3” higher than the permanent 30” level of the Head stage. We cut out a section of the floor giving us 3” to hold the water. We installed a pond liner in the opening and putt subway grating over the opening so the actors could walk over it. Inside the grating was a pond pump that pumped the water into the same sink that is the feed.
The grating was a little wider than the door, and only collected the water in that area. For the two sides we used 8” PVC that we cut in half. The PVC was on an angle so it ran off into an area over the grating.
The control was the knob on the sink faucet. We played with several amounts of pressure until we came to a level everyone was happy with. The Stage Manager would cue a stagehand back stage to turn the water on and off.
The noise was again controlled by the open cell foam. The noise from this rain effect is very loud. The noise needs to be deadened because there are many quiet moments in the play. We want to see the rain, but we do not want it to upstage the actors. The Sound Designer has built cues for the rain when we want to hear it, so the atmosphere can be controlled with the progression of the play.