Forty degrees, sunny, and thoughts of last night’s play: Ragtime

My soon to depart, Schwinn, vintage 1970, bike.


Apparently, the weather is to be warmer this weekend.

It is now in the 40s and was quite cold last night. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, I got up late, due to going to bed late, and I am procrastinating with my daily walk, which I have missed for past few days.

I plan on filling the back tire of my very old, Schwinn bike, that I am happy to be giving to the son of a very dear friend. I am happy to find a home where this vintage bicycle shall be appreciated. It served for my main bicycle for most of my life and was my first bike with more than one speed. I remember that I bought it used from a student who needed the cash and that I paid $50 for it. I used it when I took a cycling class to complete my education degree in College. I had thought, since the college had just dropped the PE requirement that I didn’t need any, but found out, very late, that I needed it for my education requirement. Thus, I quickly took horseback riding, archery, and cycling in southeastern Ohio. It has been sitting in the garage. About two years ago, I had it refurbished at the local Schwinn, bicycle place. They were blown away by it.

Now to the play, Ragtime, based on the book in 1975 by E.L. Doctorow. MK and I read it at the time, loved it, and have seen it more than once on stage. We were invited, by our daughter (-in-law) Laura, since she was seeing it and had to drive her daughter and peers there anyway. Our granddaughter has been active in theatre workshops for some time and goes to The Performer’s School, which is co-owned by Stacey Flaster, a New Trier alum, former student of our good friend Darrelyn, and the Stage Director of this performance of Ragtime.

Some thoughts there…  I did doze in the beginning of the first act. I must be truthful that I had had a long day and that was perhaps the reason. The musicality of this performance was spectactular and the vocal performances were right up there. Honestly, I could not criticize one actor or singer. They were stellar. It was beautifully choreographed. My only complaint was that I feel, in my naïve way, that the acoustics of this particular theatre, the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, were less than perfect. I felt as if the sound levels of the orchestra were almost drowning out the singers. My hearing is not perfect, either, so that statement may be up for grabs.

Nonetheless, the performance built up and after reading Stacey’s remarks in the Program, I realized that this was set to be produced about Pandemic time and was canceled. It was brought back and Stacey questioned how easy it was going to be to get it going again within the time period. As it happened, she spoke with someone who made her realize that the timing was perfect. Stacey and company managed to benefit from things like thoughts on immigrants and the political situation. I am guessing that this was done on purpose, but one of the actors was constantly calling his wife ‘Mother,’ which kept making me put the whole scene into Trumpmania, which fit perfectly well as immigrants and less than wealthy people tried to find their place in this paradise of a new culture that America is.

By the end, tears were coming to our eyes, cheers and clapping were appearing at monologue ends, and the whole audience was involved in totally experiencing the trials and tribulations of blacks, the poor, and immigrants in American society. A standing ovation completed it all.

The play was long, I had almost fallen asleep at the beginning, and I was gobsmacked into feeling that there is hope for us all. Thank you all who were involved in this production!

About Richard Koerner

Seventy something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
This entry was posted in Life in general, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Theatre, Thoughts and philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

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