Alan Bennett’s play “The History Boys” is starting its final week at The Mad Cow Theatre.
ORLANDO — Irwin, a teacher at a boys’ grammar school in the north of England
, initially comes onto the stage in a wheelchair – though for most of Alan Bennett’s play “The History Boys,” he has full use of his legs.
So it makes perfect sense, then, that Irwin is a young history teacher, and works alongside his mentor, Hector, an older, seasoned and decidedly less straight-laced and more eccentric teacher. During the play, Hector and Irwin take the audience back in history – to the series of events that led to tragedy for both of them. It’s a bit like the subject they teach: history is partly about the facts in those school text books, faithfully recorded at the time of all those momentous actions of past decades; but it’s also about memory, which of course is a far more subjective way of reflecting back. Continue reading
Jeff Guinn’s book “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson” makes no effort to glamorize the notorious serial killer.
Driving through the busy streets of Orlando
on a recent afternoon, dressed in long-sleeve business attire, I could feel the August heat and humidity in all of its punishing oppression, and was reminded once again of just how slowly the air conditioning works when you first start up a boiling hot car. Alas, my mood was decidedly sour.
But as I navigated the urban streets, occasionally dealing with impatient and rude motorists, what really irritated me wasn’t the temperature, the slow pace of my a.c. system, or my fellow drivers. It was the sounds emanating from my car’s compact disc player.
I had known for some time that the story of mass murderer Charles Manson intricately involved music. Manson had believed that the Beatles spoke to him through their “White Album,” and that the songs on it – particularly “Helter Skelter” – were predicting a coming race war in America. Continue reading
The Mad Cow Theatre is now producing John W. Lowell’s suspenseful play “The Letters,” starring Brian Brightman and Jennifer Christa Palmer.
ORLANDO — At the opening of John W. Lowell’s suspenseful play “The Letters,” a young woman we later learn is named Anna walks into a small office, then sits down — and waits.
And, for several more minutes, waits
She is tense, and nervous. She pulls out a cigarette and borrows a lighter from the office desk, but it doesn’t work. She begins to fidget and pace around the room. There’s no question that Anna doesn’t want to be there.
Then the man identified only as the director walks in. Is Anna in trouble, maybe about to be fired? The director seems very by-the-book, but not without an occasional flash of humor, even charm. Anna is respectful, business-like – and, in those first few minutes, quite apparently on edge. We keep waiting for the bad news to fall in her lap. Continue reading