Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fiddler on the Roof- Performed by Altamont High School

I had a great opportunity recently to watch the fall play for Altamont High School as they performed one of my favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof. 
The main character is Tevye, a poor man who supports his family of seven (he has five daughters) as a dairy man. He lives in the village of Anatevka in 1905, populated with mostly Jewish people, held together by their strong traditions. Tevye loves his family, but faces many troubles as his three oldest daughters insist on marrying for love, the choice of each daughter moving further away from Tevye's long held and cherished traditions. 
Zeitel, Tevye's oldest daughter is lined up to marry Lazar Wolf, a man older than her own father, but she wants to marry Motel, her childhood sweetheart. She is allowed to marry Motel when her father claims to have had a dream about Lazar's dead wife coming back to give them trouble. Hodel, Tevye's second daughter, falls in love with Perchik who has radical ideas, and asks Hodel to dance with him at the wedding of Zeitel and Motel. Chava, Tevye's third daughter loves books, and falls in love with Fyedka, a gentile, which is something Tevye cannot take.
I really like Fiddler on the Roof, the story and the message of it. Tevye goes through a lot as he deals with the choices of his daughters, and grows wiser as he does.  The cast and crew did a really good job, and I could tell they had worked hard on putting it together. I am glad that Altamont performed this play, and I am glad I went to it.

Zombie Prom- Performed by Stansbury High School

Zombie Prom (c) 2017
The drama department at Stansbury High School recently performed an exceptionally well done play entitled Zombie Prom. The cast, backstage crew, techs, and everyone involved in the play did a fantastic job. It ran from November 3rd to the 14th. I went on opening night, November 3rd, and really enjoyed it.

Zombie Prom is a play that doesn't expect its audience to take it seriously. It's campy and silly, on purpose, and as a result, is a hilarious and brilliant mix of teenage angst and radioactive romance.

The plot basically, is this: Boy meets girl. Girl's parents disapprove of boy. Boy loses girl. Boy turns into... a zombie! And the fun is just beginning at that part! Throw in an overly strict principal, a reporter interested in championing "Zombie Rights", and you've got a wonderfully funny story that entertains its audience clear through to the somewhat predictable, but satisfying ending all the same.

The drama department at Stansbury High School should be very proud of themselves! And Stansbury High's Drama isn't done yet this year! They'll be doing Elf Jr. The Musical in December, Peter and the Starcatcher in February, and The Sound of Music in May! Click HERE for more information about these upcoming plays!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

History of Halloween

Halloween is a fun holiday for many people, especially little kids who like to go trick-or-treating (or trunk-or-treating as many people are doing nowadays) and getting candy, dressing up, and basically having a fun time. But not many people know much about the history of Halloween.

Anciently, in Ireland, the Celts celebrated a holiday called Samhain (pronounced Saw-wein) that was the end of their harvest time, and the beginning of winter, the dark time of the year. They had bonfires to celebrate the time, and they had the belief that at Samhain, the veil between the living and the dead grew thin, that the spirits of the departed could come back and walk among the living.

When the Romans invaded Britain, their holidays (Pomona and Lemuria) merged with Samhain, and then when Christianity came to Europe and Britain, Samhain evolved into All Hallow's Day, the day before All Hallow's Day becoming All Hallow's Evening, or All Hallow's Eve, which eventually evolved into Hallowe'en, or just Halloween.

Many traditions evolved, but still kept some form of what they were originally. Bobbing for apples, for example, came from the Roman festival of Pomona, which celebrated the goddess of fruits. Trick-or-treating, despite the saying being less than 80 years old, came from "souling" for "soul cakes" back in the middle ages when young people would go a-souling, begging for soul-cakes, and then praying for the departed relatives of the people who gave them soul cakes, so that they could be rescued from purgatory.

It's interesting to learn where our traditions come from, and what old festivals evolved to make them what they are today. Learn more HERE.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Earth, Teach Me to Remember

I came across this lovely Ute poem, and wanted to share it. I don't know the original author.

Earth, Teach Me to Remember

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep in the rain.

Ute, North American

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Kanab Writers' Conference

I was very fortunate today to participate in the Kanab Writers' Conference which is held every year in Kanab. I taught a class entitled Helping Readers Suspend Disbelief, and I really enjoyed it. The attendees were great! They made great comments during class and really helped to contribute. I enjoyed visiting with them, and I hope they learned some useful ideas about helping readers suspend disbelief.

The ride down was long, as was the ride back, and because of the trip, I couldn't stay in Kanab for very long. I did get to eat lunch with the other conference attendees, and enjoyed listening to the keynote speaker who gave some great advice about the legal side of writing. (Contracts, protecting intellectual property, etc.)

Next year, the conference will be held again in October, on (I believe) the 12th and 13th. It's a bit of a drive for most people, unless you're lucky enough to actually live in Kanab, but it's a great experience! Check out the Kanab Writers' Conference page on Facebook, HERE!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: Dracula

Dracula (c) 1897 by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker's Dracula is a story that has stood the test of time for good reason. The antagonist Dracula, is terrifyingly real, the protagonists heroically brave (especially Quincey Morris, my favorite) and the story is one that people find themselves able to relate to. Not because we're all going to have to face down with a real live (ahem, real un-dead) vampire at some point, but that we can all relate to the feeling of uncertainty and concern in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds that the heroes face, yet still face it with determination. As Van Helsing said, "Devils, or no devils, or all the devils at once, it matters not; we fight him all the same." The spirit that the heroes, namely Van Helsing, Mina Harker, Jonathan Harker, John Seward, Arthur Holmewood, and Quincey Morris all possess is something mightily encouraging to a reader of the book. It helps me personally, realize that I too can face fearful situations with courage. And it reminds me of another encouraging quote by Neil Gaiman: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

Movie Review-Inside Out

Inside Out (c) 2015
Inside Out, a movie from Disney Pixar, directed by Pete Docter, is a fun kids' movie, though it's great for the whole family, about what goes on inside our heads, namely the head of an 11 year old girl named Riley, mostly as she (with her emotions in tow) goes about adjusting to a move. All her emotions (anthropomorphized, of course) are endearing in their own ways. Joy is my favorite, but Fear, Disgust, Anger, and of course, Sadness, are all great, too.

At the beginning of the story, Joy likes being in control, and doesn't understand Sadness's place in Riley's life. But as she and Sadness find themselves on an unexpected adventure, and Joy gets to know Sadness better, she begins to realize that their girl Riley can learn from both Sad experiences as well as happy ones.

How she goes doing that, made a brilliant story, and I highly recommend Inside Out for everyone!