Weekend Update

I’ve had headaches on and off for a week now, probably due to all the damn pressure fronts coming in and going out, and I haven’t had the energy or desire to blog. But I really gotta say at least quickly that:

First, The Tempest at Butterfield 8 in Concord is a very enjoyable production. Very small and very low budget but fun and warm and imaginative. Don Hardy, an old friend of Dave’s and mine, is Prospero, and he’s very good. Honest, I’m not just saying that. There are several other very good performances in the show, too, but I don’t have my program at hand so I’ll have to try to remember to come back later and put in some names. (Later: I thought Becky Potter as Miranda was the other standout performance, and I also particularly enjoyed Edwin Peabody as Caliban and David Hardie and Molly Kate Taylor as Stephano and Trincula. Ms. Potter was also terrific as Elizabeth Bennet in the company’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which they’re repeating this summer.)

The play has been adapted so that several of the men’s roles — most of those stranded by the shipwreck, in fact — are now women’s roles. Worked well, I thought. The adaptation is nicely managed and the actors all handle the verse adroitly, so it’s a very clear telling of the story. The play is substantially trimmed, but it seemed like a good job of trimming to me, losing some richness and power but gaining clarity and directness in exchange.

After saying all that good stuff, though, I still gotta confess: I’ve seen quite a few productions of The Tempest by now and it’s still not one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. But this is a clearly told, imaginative, and enjoyable production.

Second, last Friday’s Listener crossword, “Breach of Contract”, is terrific. Maybe my favorite so far this year. I found it slow going at first, but as the pieces came together I picked up speed and finished the last few clues in a satisfying rush. And there are several nifty surprises along the way.

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