Theatre Review: Rumors A Play By Neil Simon; Performed by Theatrikos In Flagstaff

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Flagstaff, Arizona’s local theatre company, Theatrikos, perform Neil Simon’s farce Rumors. Rumors is a play about a 10th wedding anniversary of the Deputy Mayor of New York, Charlie Brock and his wife. As the first guests arrive they hear a gunshot coming from the house. Inside they find Charlie with a bullet hole in his left ear lobe. The remainder of the play consists of a completely ridiculous attempt to hide what has happened from the other party guests, who continue to show up throughout the first act.

Local theatre is a wonderful part of any community and I am particularly proud of Flagstaff’s Theatrikos Company. With direction from Northern Arizona University professor Dr. Mac Groves the cast shines as overdramatic wealthy people. The action is fast paced and every actor was able to keep up with the plot, the other cast members and the audience’s reactions. There was non stop laughter as alcohol is consumed is copious amounts, food is dropped across the stage and a man loses his hearing for a bulk of the first act.

The actors fed off each other to create a well rounded performance that features seasoned veterans of the stage and some new faces. There is clear chemistry between the various couples on stage and the timing of every joke keeps the laughter consistent throughout the story. I would like to give a special shout out to my fellow teacher and friend, Kyle Haynes, who made his theatrical debut as one of the disgruntled police officers that comes to investigate several complaints from Charlie’s house. Since last nights show was a preview and the fist performance of Rumors in Flagstaff, I think it can only get better. There were a few stumbles that are expected in live theatre but that cast carried them beautifully.

Well done Theatrikos. Well done in deed.


Crazy Cat lady

I had a conversation with a student yesterday that really made me think. Why is it weird or sad for a woman to love their cat but it’s fine for everyone else to love their dog? I adore my cat. He came into my life at a very difficult time and has been my constant companion/ personal space heater ever since. It was his birthday over the weekend and I decided to spoil him by getting him one of those suction cup window seats. When my kids asked what I did over that weekend I told them, and I was met with a sea of eyes that told me I was living a sad life. That I was doomed to miserable and alone for the rest of my life… because I love my cat and got him something special (he absolutely adores his new window bed by the way).

I am generally proud of being considered a crazy cat lady. I love all animals, but my life is just better suited for cats. Why does that make my life a sad story? Why is it alright for dog owners to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on beds, toys, and clothing for their pets, but when I do the same thing (not that I spend hundreds of dollars) it’s considered sad and is met with pity or laughter?

This question is most often met with: “But dogs are more loyal! Cats are mean. Cats don’t care about you. Dogs are just better.” Yes, there are a good number of cats out there that would rather be left alone and aren’t considered the nicest animals. But dogs can also be mean. Dogs can also be less than loyal. All you doing is lumping all dogs into one category because you had a good experience with one, and all cats into one category because you had a bad experience.

My cat, Sootie, is a total sweetheart. He greets me at the door every day when I get home and loves to cuddle more than anything. He does not hold grudges against me after I’ve had to clip is claws or give him eye drops. He is a wonderful ball of fluff, and my life is infinitely better because of him. Believe me when I say that I was truly miserable when I came home to a completely empty apartment every day.  I know that people act the same way about dogs and are met with agreement and adoration. So why are cat people the odd ones out?

Just think about it. And give my cat a chance. He’s pretty darn great.


Gaga Knows Whats Up: Angel Down

Angel Down by Lady Gaga 
I confess I am lost
In the age of the social
On our knees, take a test
To be lovin’ and grateful
Shots were fired on the street
By the church where we used to meet
Angel down, angel down
But the people just stood around
I’m a believer, it’s a trial
Foolish and weaker, oh, oh, oh
I’d rather save an angel now
I’m a believer, it’s chaos
Where are our leaders?
Oh, oh, oh
I’d rather save an angel down
Doesn’t everyone belong
In the arms of the sacred
Why do we pretend we’re wrong?
Has our young courage faded?
Shots were fired on the street
By the church where we used to meet
Angel down, angel down
Why do people just stand around?
I’m a believer, it’s a trial
Foolish and weaker, oh, oh, oh
I’d rather save an angel down
I’m a believer, it’s chaos
Where are our leaders?
Oh, oh, oh
I’d rather save an angel down
I’m a believer, it’s a trial
Foolish and weaker, oh, oh, oh
I’d rather save an angel down
Oh, I’m a believer, it’s chaos
Where are our leaders?
Oh, oh, oh
I’d rather save an angel now

Dare, A Poem

You sit upon the highest of horses,
And judge those born with less than yourself.
You draw line, after line, after line.
Lines in the sand, and lines on paper;
Lines that become walls.
Lines that separate you from them,
Lines that cross out promises.
Promises that you never intended to keep.
Lies ooze from the house that you have shamed;
The House that once stood tall and proud,
Now stands stained a sickly shade of orange.
Money runs thicker than your blood.
You measure the world in money,
You measure the people around you in money.
You fill your life with money,
While many lose theirs, for a lack of the same.
Everyone has a right to learn.
Everyone has a right to be healthy.
No one has the right to take these away.
You seek power
You seek control
Control of yourself and control of others,
Control of time, control of news,
Control of the air we breathe.
Your birds fly around the world to betray you
What you think is intelligence
Is seen as idiocy
You dare to claim more than what has been given
You dare to bring hatred to this country;
You dare to divide your fellow man.
You dare to ask me to be something that I’m not.
I not quiet, or nasty or an object for your entertainment.
I am bold, I am daring;
I am a force to be reckoned with.
I am one of many.

Wear Red For Public Ed

Today is my 4th snow day in a row. The fact that I’m not at work will not stop me from wearing red. Please don’t let Betsy DeVos become our secretary of education. She has no experience in education and wants to privatize public education. My students are my life. Please help them succeed. Email, call, or write to your senators. It’s time for educators to make the decisions about education. Wear red for ed!!!!!!!

Sootie supports public education too!

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I have only had two encounters with alchemy during my lifetime. One was during Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone. J.K. Rowling displays a very basic representation of alchemy, in that the final products are briefly mentioned but the actual process is not mentioned at all. My second encounter was on the show Full Metal Alchemist (yes I am an anime geek). On the show alchemy is displayed as a mixture of science and magic. Science is the basis of all alchemy, but the actual execution is very visually reliant (lots of lightning and wind). Coelho’s interpretation is very different in that alchemy is more of a spiritual journey than it is magic or science.

The first thing that surprised me is that the actual alchemist  has a short presence in the story. The main character is a shepherd who decides to leave everything he knows behind in search of a treasure. This journey is repeatedly referred to as his Personal Legend, and there are many important lessons to be gleaned from watching the shepherd boy attempt to achieve this.

The first lesson is to aim high and never give up. This may seem like a cliche but it is super apparent throughout the boys entire journey. As the boy embarks upon his personal legend, his “beginners luck” leads to some unfortunate encounters. The boy had every chance to give up and return to his comfortable life, but he continued on his journey and with the guidance of The Alchemist and others found his way to enlightenment.

The second major lesson that I found was that the journey is more important than the destination. Another cliche, but I have never seen this lesson more beautifully represented than by Coelho. Sometimes the destination is close to where you began, but if you don’t take the long way around, you won’t learn anything. The boy’s personal legend is about coming full circle, and becoming one with the world around him.

This book was a spiritual journey for me. I have never been a super religious person, but it has really opened my eyes to the power of belief. Several religions are displayed throughout the book and there is a sense of unity created by the interactions between Coelho’s characters. With the guidance of The Alchemist, the boy learns that everything in the world is connected. The desert, the wind, and the sun all take on their own personalities and become complex characters through interaction with the boy. Nature itself discovers it’s limitations and embraces mankind as partner in a journey for betterment.

This is a book that has forced me to take a step back in examination of my own life. I have spent much of my free time contemplating what my own personal legend might be. Though it is yet unclear to me, I now know that it is time for me to pay attention to the world around me so that nature itself can present omens to guide me to my own sense of enlightenment.