Tag Archives: Governor Christie

Mysteries take center stage

Parenting is full of mysteries. Why siblings raised in the same home have such different personalities. Why teenagers don’t recognize the infinite wisdom of their elders. Why toddlers find pots and pans more fascinating than all those fancy toys.

Natalie Schmidt as Mollie Ralston in the Hale Theatre production of The Mousetrap

But sometimes it’s nice to enjoy mysteries of other people’s making. Mystery writer Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” is being performed at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert through Sat, Oct 8. The play follows guests at Monkswell Manor snowed in on a wintry night as one of them turns up dead and the rest work to uncover the killer.

“The Mousetrap” opened in 1952 in London, where it’s still performed today — making it the world’s longest running play. Folks favoring mysteries with a shorter run can follow the campaign foreplay of the Christie who calls New Jersey home. Or the trial of Michael Jackson’s so-called doctor.

Arizona Theatre Company opens its world-premiere production of playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s “Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Suicide Club” Thurs, Oct 13 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix.

There’s nothing funny about suicide, of course — something Governor Christie seems to have overlooked in all that “I’m not running” rhetoric. But the topic has been treated by various writers through the ages, including Robert Louis Stevenson — whose trio of short stories dubbed “The Suicide Club” was first published in 1878 by “London Magazine.”

I read the online ATC play guide one night after attempts to watch a bloody crop of television crime series season premieres left me nauseous. I prefer murder and mayhem theater style. I crave food for thought more than I hunger for violence.

Arizona Theatre Company describes “Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Suicide Club” as a “puzzling mystery that questions the boundaries of friendship, love and murder.” But the study guide hints at the work’s subtler themes — the evolution of war, citizen searches for justice outside the law, the nature of addictive personalities and more.

Mark Anders and Remi Sandri in the Arizona Theatre Company production of Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Suicide Club (Photo: Tim Fuller/ATC)

My husband recalls reading plenty of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories as a child. If I’ve read even one, I don’t remember it. I get the feeling we’d both find plenty to enjoy in Hatcher’s work — which takes a playful rather than purist approach to the character of Sherlock Holmes.

I was intrigued to learn from the play guide that while Conan Doyle rarely has Sherlock Holmes use telephones or other technology of the day, technology was critical in helping Hatcher research Holmes’ character. Apparently Hatcher’s first foray into the Amazon Kindle was checking on whether certain words or phrases were used in Holmes dialogue written by Conan Doyle.

Like the play “War Horse,” which continues to enjoy galloping ticket sales in London and NYC, Hatcher’s “Sherlock Holmes” reflects the impact of changing technology on cultures in conflict. I get the feeling that the play’s reference to suicide speaks to something beyond isolated acts of desperation.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about Hale Centre Theatre, here to learn more about Arizona Theatre Company, here to explore the works to Agatha Christie, here to explore the work of Arthur Conan Doyle and here to visit London’s Sherlock Holmes Museum. Click here for suicide prevention resources.

Coming up: Valley visual arts offerings, Hedgehog meets goldfish, More NYC adventures

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NYC in Scottsdale?

My husband James stumbled on a great pizza joint last Friday night while making a pet store run. Lovebirds can’t do pizza, so Trixy got bird food and we got slices from Joe’s New York Pizza in Scottsdale. Cheese for Lizabeth and Hawaiian for me.

March for gay rights in NYC, 1976 (Photo: Warren K. Leffler)

He walked in the door with dinner just after I’d watched a CNN broadcast of a short speech by New York governor Andrew Cuomo. The occasion for Cuomo’s remarks was the passage of a marriage equality act in the New York legislature.

I already had New York on the brain because I was readying for this week’s trip to NYC for Lizabeth’s college orientation. Lizabeth starts a B.F.A. in acting program this fall.

As Lizabeth weighed possible colleges earlier in the year, I was mindful of the political landscape in the various states where she might go to school — though I never mentioned things like my Cuomo versus Christie musings.

Cuomo spoke last Friday night of New York as a “social justice” state. “I’m always proud to be a New Yorker,” said Cuomo. “But tonight I’m especially proud to be a New Yorker.” Cuomo was among those leading the fight for marriage equality in New York.

In his remarks, Cuomo spoke of New York’s leadership in several fights for equal rights — the movement for women’s rights, the push for worker’s rights after the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the most recent battle — equal marriage rights for gay and straight couples.

“Social justice,” said Cuomo, “is an evolutionary process.” He recognized others who’d championed this cause for New York citizens, and praised “the advocacy community from across the nation.” I’m sure some in Scottsdale embraced the vote with a “we’re all New Yorkers tonight” mindset.

I’m thrilled to be enjoying NYC with Lizabeth this week, but there are folks in Scottsdale that I’ll be missing while we’re away. Trixy, Pinky, Rugby — plus James and our other two children, also college students. But also Lizabeth’s teachers from the Scottsdale Conservatory Theatre, where she studied theater last summer.

Before we marched for marriage equality, we marched for women's rights and workers' rights

The conservatory presents its 2011 performance at the Scottsdale Community College Performing Arts Center Wed, June 29 and Thurs, June 30. They’re presenting “Strange Bedfellows,” which is set in my daughter Jennifer’s favorite city — San Francisco. They have a thing for civil rights too.

“Strange Bedfellows” is the tale of Senator Cromwell, “a politician who keeps his women under stern rule.” His son, Matthew Cromwell, is a young congressman who “dutifully follows in his father’s political footsteps — except when he marries a beautiful and determined suffragette.”

It examines “the coming of age of a woman’s right to vote” — and features “the escapades that ensue as the suffragette converts the women in the Cromwell family to her way of thinking.” Who doesn’t love a good conversion story?

I’m told that “shades of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and San Francisco’s brothel district come into play as each side tries to out-maneuver and out-smart the other.” Aristophanes, by the way, was a comedic playwright of ancient Greece.

I know the actors, theater professionals and teachers of Scottsdale Conservatory Theatre played a part in helping Lizabeth achieve her dream of studying and making theater in NYC — and I’m grateful.

Thanks to James and Joe’s New York Pizza, we can always enjoy a bit of NYC in Scottsdale. But this week, we’re carrying thoughts of Scottsdale with us in New York.

— Lynn

Note: Check out the “Stay Fancy Free” blog for more nifty black-and-white photos of suffragettes — plus lovely fiber arts fare. Click here to check out the site where I found the photo shot while the Democratic National Convention was in NYC during 1976.

Coming up: Shakespeare NYC-style, A stroll through the theater district, NYC: museum highlights